There was a time when money never really mattered to a player. All that counted was heart and passion. Those days, i am sorry to write are long gone. With the commercialisation of the sport, players can afford to perform poorly for their national sides and still be comforted to know that a five and for some six figure salary will be deposited in their accounts every Friday.
Club football has far surpassed national football in terms of the entertainment and excitement it offers. That is why it is not uncommon to find big name players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o and even Kaka failing to replicate their club form for their countries.
Even as the FIFA World Cup continues in South Africa, transfer deals and the absurd amounts of money that some of these clubs are offering are threatening to steal the limelight from the biggest sporting even in the world.
I do not know about you but as for me, South Africa 2010 is lacking something that tournaments like France 1998 ( the best world cup i ever watched) or even Korea/Japan 2002 had. I can’t quite place my finger on it. I do not know if its because we are missing players like Ronaldo, Bergkamp, Kluivert, Batistuta-not that Kaka C.Ronaldo, Messi and Tevez aren’t good-or if we are just experiencing a transition period between that golden generation and the present stars.
What i do know however is that all this money floating around definitely has something to do with it. Take Cristiano Ronaldo for example. The Real Madrid star earns in the range of 150,000-200,000 Pounds per week. This does include endorsements from sponsor Nike. So based on the figures above and his other endorsements, Ronaldo can earn upto 70 million Pounds a year.
Companies such as Nike, Adidas, Puma, Coca-cola, Pepsi and the like have realised the appeal that such stars have and have been quick to strike lucrative deals with them.
Now it is not bad for players to capitalise on his brand image,however, it gets out of hand when this becomes their main driving force. This leaves world football governing body FIFA with the immense responsibility of trying to regulate spending among clubs to try and even out the playing field.
Photo credit: from adrienportugal