So today at university, my eftpos card declined while I was attempting to purchase a $3.99 sandwich, and this got me thinking about football and money.
I recalled a period in the Robin van Persie transfer saga when newspaper headlines were grossly proclaiming that Juventus was putting together a £73 million deal for the Dutch striker.
When I first saw this, I was rather gobsmacked, as you could imagine. But upon reading the articles I ascertained that the figure was not a simple transfer fee, it also included van Persie’s wages, which were suggested to be around £180,000 after tax.
Now, this is a premium case of information being taken out of context in order to sensationalize headlines and thus attract outraged readers. A transfer fee is always separate to the wages paid to the player. The fee is effectively money that “buys out” the player’s existing contract, thus allowing that player to negotiate a new contract with the fee-paying club, while wages are, well, wages.
£73 million pounds sounds like an incorrigibly large sum of money—and it is. But this got me wondering what the total transfer fees of other, better-paid, higher-priced players might be if we took into account their wages as well, and this, dear reader, is how articles are born.
In the following list, I have taken the weekly wage of the said player (according to paywizard.co.uk) and multiplied it by 52 (52 weeks in a year, for those Cro-Magnons among us).
That figure was then multiplied by the number of years that the contract originally stated, producing a gross sum of their football-related wages.
I then added their reported transfer fee to the number, plus 10%, which I presumed to be an overall average of a player’s signing-on fee.
I got all the information I used from the above source, and I realize that some of the figures may be stated as different in other sources. This is not intended to be an exhaustive auditing of clubs’ player expenditure; it is simply an eye-opening look at the true costs of players in the modern climate.
The results are...well. See for yourself.
Total Cost: £68,000,000
Van Persie takes sixth place on this list, with a transfer fee speculated at around £24 million on top of a four-year deal on £200,000 a week.
This means that United are cumulatively paying about £17 million a year for the Dutchman—or £46,000 a day.
For comic effect, each of these slides will involve a comparison made between the amount of money spent by the club, and an equivalent number of life necessities that could be purchased with the same amount of money.
Thus, with the money Manchester United spent on Robin van Persie, Alex Ferguson could have bought me 33,166,616 sandwiches from the Otago University campus shop, adjusted to the New Zealand Dollar of course.
In order to consume these sandwiches by the time van Persie’s contract ran out, I would have to eat just under 23,000 sandwiches a day.
Suddenly, I don’t feel quite as bad about van Persie leaving now.
Total Cost: £80,000,000
Ibra’s move to the pointlessly wealthy Parisian club will cost his new employers around £80 million over three years, or a tad under £27 million a year, though given the enigmatic Swede’s past history, it’ll be a miracle if he stays around long enough for the full sum to change hands.
Strangely, only £15.8 million of this sum is Ibrahimovic’s transfer fee: he managed to land himself a sweet contract deal on about £400,000 per week before tax, which is enough money to genuinely scare most people, and leads me to question whether Ibra serves his guests blended up money cocktails at his dinner parties, as this would certainly be high on my priority list.
Ibrahimovic’s total cost works out at a tad over £73,000 per day, which means PSG are paying the average yearly incomes of five New Zealanders every single day in exchange for Zlatan, though they may be able to recoup these funds if they capitalize on the Swede’s bizarre first name and statuesque appearance and create a superhero movie franchise based on his exploits.
Zlatan-man! Destroys villains with...er...his powerful kicks.
Anyway! I work at an Irish pub, and at that Irish pub a pint of Guinness costs me $9.60NZ, which is about £5.
I would need to drink 5,333,333 pints of Guinness every year for three years to spend the amount of money Ibra will cost PSG on Guinness.
This works out as being slightly under 15,000 pints a day, which, interestingly enough, is relatively close to Charlie Sheen’s average daily consumption.
However, to put things into perspective, St Patrick’s Day normally sees the world consume 13 million pints of black gold in 24 hours, so I suppose I have a bit of catching up to do.
Total Cost: £81,912,880
Imagine something for me, indulge me for a second: you happen to be a genuinely top-drawer player from a burgeoning African nation who has played for three of the biggest clubs in world football, scored goals aplenty and is still at (or at least near) the top of your game.
What on earth would possess you to forsake your career among the elite clubs of world football to ply your trade in Russia of all places?
If you said “well, Emile, you witty and handsome young man, it would take about £366,000 a week”, then you and Samuel Eto’o would have something in common.
Eto’o is the highest-paid player in world football. His annual earnings are cited by his Wikipedia page (that bastion of reliable information) as being in the region of £15.8 million per season after tax.
Eto’o’s (that seems to be a lot of apostrophes) deal is only for three years, so that £81,912,880 equals out at just over £27 million per year, roughly the same as that of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The rent at my flat is $110NZ per week. This means that, for the overall cost of Samuel Eto’o, Anzhi football club could provide me with a roof over my head for about 27,000 years.
Cheers, guys. Real cool.
Total Cost: £90,191,000
Yaya Toure’s mammoth £245,000 per-week five-year contract, £24 million transfer fee and presumed £2.4 million signing-on fee garner him third place in this list, with an overall cost just nudging over £90 million which, by all accounts, is slightly more money that you can shake a stick at.
Interestingly, Toure is the only player on this list who is not fundamentally an attacking player, which is ironic considering that goals conceded certainly cost a club more than goals scored, pun most decisively intended.
The length of Toure’s contract means that his annual cost compared to that of Ibra is relatively measly—a mere £18,038,000 per year—and it could be argued that Toure is one of the most important components of the Man City team, and thus justifies his enormous cost.
However, it’s easy to make it sound ridiculous as well. So let’s do that, shall we!?
A 2000 Honda Civic gets around 30 miles to the gallon of petrol, and works out at having an annual cost of $1850US per year, presuming that you drive about 15,000 miles per year.
With the money City will end up spending on Yaya Toure, they could run one of these Honda Civics for about 48,000 years.
Hmm. Yes. Well. Obviously we can’t purse our lips quite yet—there’s still two to come!!
Total Cost: £144,962,344
The Brazilian was signed to a six-year contract on £267,187 per week, which meant that Real was aware of the fact that, in 2014, they would be still paying a 32-year-old enough money to fund and maintain a small military coup.
They will be feeling a bit sorry for themselves now, as Kaka has been leapfrogged in the Madrid pecking order by Mesut Oezil, Angel di Maria and, soon, Luka Modric.
But Kaka’s bank account will continue ticking over. Now we’re getting into silly numbers: the Brazilian playmaker will have cost Madrid over £140,000,000 if he sees out his contract, and thus the only way to do such an outrageous number justice is to compare it against something similarly outrageously-priced.
The most expensive food in the world is an Italian White Alba Truffle. The most expensive of these sold for £101,000 or $160,000US.
The most expensive bottle of white wine ever sold cost £75,000.
The most expensive steak in the world costs about £1,770.
If Florentino Perez ate the world’s finest steak every night for six years, and, every Saturday and Sunday, washed it down with a bottle of the world’s finest white wine and, also every Saturday and Sunday, then finished off with a White Alba Truffle...for six years...
He’d still have enough money left over to buy Luka Modric at the end of it all.
Total Cost: TBA
Let’s go through this one together, so that you can see that I’m not sensationalizing this figure.
According to Paywizard, Ronaldo is paid £545,935 per week before tax, as per his contract.
His contract runs for six years. Therefore, we go 545,935 x 6 x 52.
This comes to £170,331,720. On wages.
Now we add Ronaldo’s transfer fee—which is the highest of all time, at £80 million.
As a cherry, we add on another £8 million as a signing-on fee.
Total Cost: £258,331,720.
£41,721,953 per year.
£802,345 per week.
£114,620 per day.
£4,775 per hour, every hour of every day of every month of every year for six years. That’s what Real are paying.