Is Cristiano Ronaldo Overpaid or Underpaid?
Just like most football superstars in the modern game, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is handsomely rewarded for his efforts on the field. The Portugal international became one of the richest players in the world upon moving to Spain, earning millions of dollars a year.
But as rumours mount that Madrid's man is keen to see his salary increase once again to commit his future to the Bernabeu, are his club getting value for money out of him?
Even before any projected pay increase, Cristiano finds himself amongst the richest in the game. A recent study by renowned financial magazine Forbes placed the forward at 31 in their list of the 100 richest celebrities, in the middle of an unlikely sandwich between Donald Trump and Jay-Z.
According to the magazine, Ronaldo earns a staggering $23m a year from salary and bonuses alone, a figure that rises to a total of $44m when including endorsements and sponsorship. The Sun furthermore reports his current base salary as £200,000-a-week.
Lionel Messi, just out of interest, enters the same list at 39, between David Letterman and Adam Sandler, with an income of just over $41m.
According to The Sun, however, this amount is not enough for Madrid's star. According to the newspaper, Ronaldo wants a substantial improvements in his terms in order to stay put:
First up he wants an annual wage of £17m from Madrid, which works out at about £345,000 per week.
But he is also demanding 100 per cent of his image rights contract from the club, which could be worth as much as £15m per year.
But does he merit almost double his current, arguably already inflated salary? Statistics are certainly on his side. Ronaldo has scored over a goal a game for Madrid, a outstanding 201 in just 199 appearances. Such a record outstrips easily anyone on his own side, and on a world level only Messi in recent seasons has been able to compete against such prolific scoring.
From the rangy winger that began at Sporting, Ronaldo has developed into a strong, lightning quick forward adept at finishing with both feet and his head. His wages may not come cheap, but it is hard to see who, short of a highly improbable move for Ronaldo's Argentine rival, could even come close to such numbers.
But do the records tell the whole story? In that same four-season spell that has seen his goal totals reach extraordinary heights, Ronaldo has lifted a paltry two major trophies: a Liga title in 2011-12 and the Copa del Rey from the previous season.
In three of the four years Madrid have been outgunned by Barcelona to the title, while their Champions League quests have never advanced past the semi-finals. The team has been built around the scoring talents of Ronaldo, further exaggerating his ability in front of the net; but could this be what is holding one of the richest, most powerful clubs in the world back from glory?
Ronaldo's latest alleged complaints over remuneration, combined with the furore unleashed last season when he declared himself "sad" and refused to celebrate his goals, as reported by the Telegraph, point to a player who believes himself above the team. His talent is beyond question, but it may be that Madrid now need someone whose first priority is not how many mediocre defences he can destroy in order to boost his own figures.
It may be that a team figurehead who plays with the team, and for the team, is what is necessary to reverse the last five years of underachievement. And if so, it may be that Ronaldo, more than ever, is becoming an expensive luxury at the Bernabeu.
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