World Football

Adnan Januzaj Earns More Than Teen Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, Says Agent

Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj  during the English Premier League soccer match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns Stadium in West Bromwich, England, Saturday, March 8, 2014.  (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press
Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2014

Apparently, it's a good time to be Adnan Januzaj. Not only will the youngster be part of Belgium's pre-World Cup training camp, as the Press Association reported, via The Guardian, but as revealed by his agent Dirk De Vriese, the Manchester United winger is the highest-paid teenage footballer in the world.

Speaking to Belgium's Sport Voetbalmagazine, via Het Laatste Nieuws' Kristof Terreur, the agent stated his client earns higher wages than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo received at a similar age:

Of course, such news shouldn't come as a huge shock. Thanks to inflation and the competitiveness of wages forcing them to grow ever higher, it only makes sense for young talented players to earn more today than they did seven years ago.

What was shocking was De Vriese's claim that French outfit Paris Saint-Germain offered Januzaj an enormous deal just minutes before he signed his new contract with United. The agent describes the club as "ready to offer anything":

Of course, United were the club that gave him a chance to play at the very highest level at such a young age. With the Red Devils playing such a large part in his breakout campaign, Januzaj's re-signing with the club was never particularly surprising.

The youngster was seen as a long shot to make Belgium's final selection for next month's World Cup, as Marc Wilmots has made a point of only selecting players who are influential starters at their club.

This was one of the reasons for Kevin de Bruyne's desire to leave Chelsea, for instance, as his position with the Belgian Red Devils was being jeopardised by a lack of consistent playing time.

But with the injury to Christian Benteke and the somewhat underwhelming season of Jelle Vossen, Belgium's attacking third suddenly seems to lack depth behind expected starter Romelu Lukaku.

Michy Batshuayi is expected to take Benteke's place, while Nacer Chadli, Kevin Mirallas and Dries Mertens could all play in a more advanced role than they have with the Belgian team so far, but there is still room for one more versatile attacker. As a result, Januzaj has a shot at making the World Cup without ever playing a single official match for Belgium.

Unsurprisingly, his agent was questioned on his client's decision to play for Belgium over a host of other nations, including England. De Vriese stated England could have been an interesting option but wanted to clarify money never played a part in the decision:

Of course, as Januzaj is apparently already the highest-paid teenager in the world, money shouldn't have played a very big role in his decision. And judging by his preferred location for a first date, he won't be running out of cash anytime soon:

It will be interesting to see what progress the youngster is able to make over the course of the summer months, as a few weeks with the national team traditionally has a great effect on younger players.

With a new manager at United's helm next season, Januzaj will have to prove his worth all over again and nothing will be guaranteed. Expectations will be very high for the young Belgian following his superb 2013-14 campaign, and learning to deal with such expectations is part of the learning curve for young talented players.

 

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