For most football fans, the sport has long jumped the shark at the top level when it comes to money. Go back even to the turn of the millennium, and the wage disparity was nowhere near what it was. Football has become far less competitive at the top-end due to the massive change in how money is able to be moved around the sport.
Today, the top clubs have the most revenue, and players often play for the bank balance as much as the badge. So, today, we see many players earn stratospheric sums of money that would have blown away the sport even just a few years ago.
In the era of self-branding and soft political sponsorship near and afar, football has changed. The money is now going into the game like never before, and it is producing players who earn eye-watering sums of money. For example, did you know that Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona earns around $110m in a single year?
Next up is Cristiano Ronaldo, who was on a package of around $107m when he played for Real Madrid. The next best-paid players include Neymar ($89m) and Gareth Bale ($34m). Even there, though, one can see a massive disparity in the earnings. From Messi to Bale, there is a surplus of close to $70m in the wages being spent to get one but not the other. That is huge.
Football has gone this way for some time, though, and many players who are earning huge sums of money really have come from nowhere. For example, who would ever have thought
that ex-Chelsea midfielder Oscar would be among the best paid players in football?
According to Betting Sites, Oscar earns a whopping $27m when playing for Shanghai SIPG.
Who else makes wild football earnings?
The sport has often been known to make millionaires of its most talented, but some of the biggest earners in the sport can be a real surprise. For example, Graziano Pelle, former Italian international striker, brings in $22m – the same as James Rodriguez, currently of FC Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
Top players will always make huge sums of money, but football has changed to a wild extent. It seems odd that players such as Hulk, for example, could be earning more than proven names such as Antoine Griezmann, Edinson Cavani and Gerard Pique. As the infographic shows, though, the annual earning power of the former Porto man outstrips three of the best players of their generation.
Other big names on that list that might surprise you less, though, are the likes of Paul Pogba ($29m) and Luis Suarez ($26m). Kylian Mbappe, the wonderkid of Paris Saint-Germain, will likely see a big increase from his $22m earnings after a record-breaking season for the Parisians.
One thing is for sure – they money in football has changed almost beyond any normal recognition. If the sport ever wishes to maintain the parity that competitiveness that makes it the global game, these kind of figures might have to balance out over the sport.
Infographic source; https://www.betting-sites.uk.com/soccer-earnings/