Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent outburst, claiming he had become a “little sad” has set the media world alight with speculation that an exit from the Spanish capital is on the cards for the Portuguese international.
Media outlets, Madridistas and football lovers alike are in harmony over the prolific striker’s abrupt malaise, with suggestions that he does not feel ‘valued’ being a catalyst for his desire to quit the club. However, the general consensus is that Ronaldo’s recent unhappiness stems down to money, and the club’s failure to offer the former Manchester United superstar a mega buck’s new deal, something which the flamboyant attacker has refuted.
These latest reports have caused a huge furore within the footballing world, with unstinting support for a reform in the wage structures of footballers being called for by those who respect and value good financial stewardship in the sport. This, indeed, poses the question of whether or not it is justifiable for wealthy owners to pay such astonishing weekly figures to their players that go beyond the boundary of the game’s fair play policy.
I firmly believe that the issue needs to be assessed in its entirety, without ever stereotyping the modern day professional footballer. We must look at each talent individually, assessing them on their merits and potential ability before making the assumption that they are entitled to earn such colossal amounts of money. It is only then that we can justify the extraordinary salaries of society’s elite.
Over the past number of years, we have seen the emergence of rich business tycoons in the Premier League who value the potential financial returns from their projects as more important than obliging by the ethics of youth development and building a club from its grass roots. This nicely leads onto the idea that gifted players have become contract obsessed, defining their success simply by the money they earn. They have become embedded in this almost untouchable monopoly, where the only means of securing their signature is by offering them a huge deal with lots of win, goal and performance related bonuses.
So, if you were playing for a top European club, why would you give up that status to play for Anzhi Makhachkala? The emerging Russian club, who play their football in the volatile North Caucasus region, have managed to attract many successful players to Dagestan as of late such as the highest paid footballer on the planet, Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o. The sudden surge of players to the run-down Soviet era region comes on the back of huge investment from Dagestani billionaire, Suleiman Kerimov.
Many may argue that the experience of playing in Russia and being part of a project that will bring peace and prosperity to the region is rewarding enough. However, doubters may allude to the fact that big wages in this current economic climate have seduced players into substituting trophies for money. Although one of football’s greatest powers is to unite people, as long as the tide continues to turn towards greed and players revenue as oppose to entertaining those with a dream, the beautiful game will inevitably end up in tatters.
Each and every footballer is a unique commodity, which brings different qualities and attributes both on and off the pitch. Without a doubt, some talents are entitled to greater earnings than others, simply because what they bring to the game and give back to the fans is something special. This something is what dreams are made of. It sends shivers down the spine of that child in the crowd with the desire to one day fill the boots of his idol.
On the other hand, there are a number of individuals who have imposed their financial power on the footballing world and transfer market. These are the villains in the theatre of dreams that is football. Money alone cannot guarantee success, but it is influential enough to cause havoc on how the game is perceived. It is easier to condemn and criticise, rather than applaud its existence.