World Football: Are Athletes Realistically Worth All This Money?

Mike Goncalves@MGoncalves10Correspondent IIIFebruary 13, 2011

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 06:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid in action during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Real Sociedad at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 6, 2011 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

In a time when the economy isn't doing very well in most countries, prices tags for professional soccer players are at an all-time high. Not only are player transfer fees high, but annual player salaries are astonishing.

Since 2000, we have been witness to some unbelievable soccer transfers. The all-time leading transfer fee paid to date was Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid from Old Trafford for £80m. He is currently making £12m a year at the Bernabeu. That is not including endorsements. 

Out of the top 10 all-time highest transfer fee's, we see Real Madrid appear four times on the list. 

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo (2009) (£80m)
  2. Kaka (2009) (£56m)
  3. Zidane (2001) (£55m)
  4. Figo (2000) (£46m)

How is it possible to be able to pay these amounts for just a transfer, and then be able to pay multi-million dollar contracts throughout the year?

What makes these athletes worth such a large sum of money?

It is evident that they have a unique ability to play the game like very few, but does it mean they should be getting that much money?

While these athletes are getting paid millions to do something they love, or at least should love and be grateful for, the middle and lower class people in the world are struggling to make ends meet. While they live the life of elegance and luxury, there are people all over the world dying of hunger.

It’s unbelievable that athletes will fuss and moan about wanting four or five million a year opposed to the offered two, but there are people in the world that are barely able to make $20,000 USD a year.

Do these athletes not see a problem with this?

These athletes travel the world with their teams. For the higher profile players they get all the greatest gifts and incentives from companies trying to market their products.

How much of that salary do they actually have to waste on things that are actually needed opposed to "toys" such as cars? 

In my opinion, I don’t think anyone is worth that money. These athletes have been gifted with a talent, which is to play soccer, but by no means should the finances in World Football have been allowed to get this far out of hand. 

How far will this go? In five or ten years’ time, how high and inflated will salaries be then?

Or will the World Football market take a huge hit? For those who love the game, one would hope that the game continues on with no interruption, but something needs to be done.

FIFA will be implementing the new financial rule in the coming season, but is that really going to fix this already out of hand problem? Will teams manage to find some sort of loop hole?

If an analysis was done from the past 20 to 25 years on the top 10 leagues in the world, many people would be astonished at the amount of teams that no longer exist because of financial problems.

Now obviously if you get yourself into financial problems and have to shut down your organization that is your fault, but how many of these bigger teams are in the same situation?

All the top teams in the world such as Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool, AC Milan, Arsenal, Inter Milan, etc., will more than likely always be in existence. That is primarily due to the fact that no matter what, there will always be investors who are willing to help them out if need be.

It’s always going to be a matter of the big fish eating the little fish, but shouldn’t World Football's governing body, FIFA, want to make the game more competitive and more balanced? The difference between the world’s top teams and the world's average and consistent teams is so far off its amazing.

From the way things look now, in 10 or 15 years’ time domestic leagues could no longer exist. There could end up only being one primary league with all the "richest" clubs in the world. Although they may be the "richest", the debt values are through the roof.

I will leave you with the top 10 transfers in World Football history.


Rank↓ Player↓ From↓ To↓ Transfer Fee
(£ millions)↓
Transfer Fee
( millions)↓
Year↓ Inflation adjusted fee
(£ millions)[3]↓
1Portugal Cristiano RonaldoEngland Manchester UnitedSpain Real Madrid£80€93.5[4]2009£80m
2Sweden Zlatan Ibrahimović[5]Italy InternazionaleSpain Barcelona£56.5€66[6][7]2009£57m
3Brazil KakáItaly MilanSpain Real Madrid£55€652009£56m
4Spain Fernando TorresEngland LiverpoolEngland Chelsea£50[8]€582011£50m
5France Zinedine ZidaneItaly JuventusSpain Real Madrid£45.7€75[9][10]2001£55m
6Portugal Luís FigoSpain BarcelonaSpain Real Madrid£37[11]€58.52000£46m
7Argentina Hernán Crespo[12]Italy ParmaItaly Lazio£35.5[13]€552000£45m
8England Andy CarrollEngland Newcastle UnitedEngland Liverpool£35[14]€402011£35m
9Spain David VillaSpain ValenciaSpain Barcelona£34.2[15]€402010£34m
10Italy Gianluigi Buffon[16]Italy ParmaItaly Juventus£32.6[17]€49.22001£40m
11Brazil RobinhoSpain Real MadridEngland Manchester City£32.5[18]€422008£32m
12Italy Christian VieriItaly LazioItaly Internazionale£32[19]€48.31999£41m
13Ukraine Andriy ShevchenkoItaly MilanEngland Chelsea£30.8€46.42006£33m
14Bulgaria Dimitar BerbatovEngland Tottenham HotspurEngland Manchester United£30.75€46.42008£31m
15Czech Republic Pavel NedvědItaly LazioItaly Juventus£30.7€46.32001£38m


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