Soccer Wage Hysteria Is Misguided, Says Michael Owen

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker Michael Owen argues that soccer’s current salaries are justifiable, and says that footballers only earn as much as athletes do in other sports. The former England striker Michael Owen further stated that wages for footballers are deserved due to the high amount of interest shown in the sport by numerous fans across the globe.

Recently it was revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo, who earns €21 million a year, is the richest footballer in the world, while Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto’o are second and third respectively. Over the last few years, salaries have continued to soar and the recently renewed £300,000 weekly deal for Wayne Rooney at Manchester United has seen the spotlight thrown on this issue once again.

While many believe there should be a cap on wages, Owen realizes that the money given to footballers can be justified.

Owen wrote in a column on Sportlobster, a blog that he has invested in,

“Despite many of these issues being extremely important, I can’t help but think the current hysteria surrounding footballers reported wage packets is over-hyped and unnecessary.

“If you have the skill, which people are prepared to part with their hard-earned cash in order to watch, those with skill will always command high salaries.

“Nobody complains if pop stars sell out a stadium and rake in millions from a tour. Nobody complains about the reported weekly salaries, according to Forbes, of sportsmen such as Kobe Bryant (£700k), Roger Federer (£800k), Phil Mickelson (£480k) and Usain Bolt (£290k).

“What is so different to a footballer earning similar amounts for being at the top of their own particular sport?

“I often hear the football fan’s mantra of ‘I’m paying his wages’ when a footballer his having a bad day and yet fans don’t feel the same way at all when watching Tiger Woods or Roger Federer play a poor match.

“Of course, there is an argument for saying all sports stars’ wages are ridiculously high in comparison to people’s salaries in regular jobs…but how is it specifically a footballer’s fault?

“It is all too easy to bang out the same old clinches whenever the talk turns to a footballer’s wages. The fact is we are fortunate to live in a free world, where market forces dictate cost and, as such, I really don’t think footballers’ wages are in any way out of sync with the rest of the sporting world.

“As long as there are children in virtually every country around the world aspiring to be the next Ronaldo, Messi or Rooney and media companies vying for the rights to football at the highest level, I just don’t see things changing.”

What’s your opinion? Do players such as Wayne Rooney (£300,000 per week), Cristiano Ronaldo and others deserve to be those type of wages, or are those wages out of control? Have your say in the comments section below.

13 thoughts on “Soccer Wage Hysteria Is Misguided, Says Michael Owen”

  1. It’s a free market. Talent gets paid the market rate. I’ve got no problem with talented people getting as much money as they can.

  2. I don’t think the salaries are nuts, at least with respect to other sports. It is the transfer fees that are beyond ridiculous.

  3. It’s whatever the market will bear. It’s like if linesmen suddenly demanded 50K a game and the FA were prepared to pay it.

  4. It just shows where our hearts lie. In entertainment. We are ok with paying people who play a game ridiculous amounts of money but our doctors, scientists, philosophers, etc are, as a whole, paid pennies when compared to athlete’s wages. I’m not saying that athletes shouldn’t be paid well, because, after all, it is a profession that requires professional skills. But in comparison to the general population, it’s pretty ridiculous.

  5. I think we also have to take into context the fact that sports athletes have a limited time when they work. In comparison to the average doctor and or lawyer the life of a footballer at the top of their game is only about 10 years or so. These athletes are earning a lifetime of wages in this span so that when they leave the sport they are able to live out the rest of their lives.

    Mind you they don’t have insurance or anything after they leave the sport so any prolonged injuries are things they have to pay out of pocket for.

    I used to have an issue with athletes and what they made but considering the time frame they have making it and the risks they face afterward I think their wages are fine.

  6. Everyone is a free agent. If you feel you are underpaid at your job, go into the marketplace and negotiate yourself a raise. People get paid what they can get. If Cristiano get 21 million, it is because Real feel that they can afford him. If you feel you are worth more…go get yourself a raise. In the car business here in Tampa, I quit or got fired from every job I had. I usually earned more at each move. Fly without a net. You’ll find out what you are capable of.

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