Money, money, money, money, money! Some people got to have it. Some people really need it…
The above is a segment from the lyrics of “For The Love Of Money” by the O’Jays. The song was made famous through The Apprentice, where it was used as the theme song for multiple seasons. For those of you who don’t know, The Apprentice is all about making money.
In modern football, money has become such a major element of the sport, and at times it seems to be the only motive for people to play the "beautiful game." Loyalties are pushed aside when money comes into the picture, and more often than not, players long to go where the money is.
Chelsea’s Frank Lampard currently earns around £140,000 a week, while teammate John Terry rakes in about £131,000 every week. Chelsea’s Michael Ballack earns £121,000 a week, while Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard earns £120,000 over the course of seven days.
Before returning to AC Milan last summer, Andriy Shevchenko earned wages in the region of £121,000 during his time at Stamford Bridge. For a player who only scored 22 goals during his time at Chelsea, it seems like a ridiculous amount of money to pay a player, and in all honesty, it is.
Other big earners in the Premier League include Cristiano Ronaldo, with £119,000 a week, and his Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney, who earns £110,000 a week. Newcastle’s Michael Owen and Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand also earn over £100,000 a week, while Chelsea’s Didier Drogba falls just outside of the ‘£100,000 wages club’ with £91,000 a week.
What would happen if each of these players’ wages were cut in half? I have my doubts as to whether or not they’d still want to play for their club.
It may be impertinent for me to undermine the loyalties of each player, but it an era when money is such an important factor, I’m convinced each of these players would feel differently about playing for their club if their wages were to suddenly be cut in half.
I have the ultimate respect for Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand, and in fact, they are just a few of my heroes at Old Trafford. But I cannot help but question the motives of the modern footballer. Rooney and Ferdinand clearly love playing at United, but I doubt they would feel the same way if they earned less than half of what they make now.
Frank Lampard spent the summer mulling over a move to Inter Milan to join former coach Jose Mourinho after Chelsea failed to offer the 30-year-old enough money in his contract extension.
The England international eventually forced Chelsea’s hand and the Stamford Bridge outfit offered him an improved contract. Lampard has been the heartbeat for Chelsea since transferring from West Ham in 2001, but he was ready to throw away his loyalties because of money.
Emmanuel Adebayor was on the brink of a move to AC Milan after growing unhappy with his wages at Arsenal. The Togo striker claimed he deserved to be paid as much as Thierry Henry did during his time at Arsenal. Adebayor eventually decided to stay at Arsenal, but it only reiterated the modern day footballer’s lust for money.
I could go on forever about footballers who served as examples of the modern day footballer’s drive for money, but this article might just go on forever. Rio Ferdinand was as guilty as Lampard and Adebayor a couple of seasons ago when he refused to come to an agreement with Manchester United over his contract, even after the club had paid £30 million for his services and stuck by him through his eight-month ban from football for missing a drugs test.
The final line in the song “For The Love Of Money” is: People! Don't let money, don't let money change you, it will keep on changing, changing up your mind.
To all the footballers out there: Don’t let money, don’t let money change you, because it is clearly changing up your minds. It’s disheartening to see a footballer more concerned about money rather than playing the sport they love.
When a footballer begins playing the beautiful game for the first time as a child, he dreams of scoring a winning goal and hearing every fan in the stadium chant his name. Nowadays, however, it seems the footballer’s who once dreamt of success on the pitch, are only harboring dreams of adding more money to their bank account.
For a breath of fresh air, which I strongly suggest, check out the following article on how Athletico Bilbao’s Joseba Exteberria puts the likes of Lampard and Adebayor to shame by deciding to play for his club for FREE.