When Manchester City take on Barcelona tonight in the Champions League last-16 first leg, just take a moment to appreciate the talent on display, as the likes Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Neymar and David Silva take to the Etihad Stadium.
Then cower behind your sofa at the thought of how much they’re all getting paid to play 90 minutes of football.
We’ve crunched the numbers to determine how the true value of tonight’s encounter will end up feeding back to the players via their wages.
Manchester City vs Barcelona - combined XI
Manchester City vs Barcelona - combined XI
1/11 GK: Joe Hart
England's No 1 has undergone another mixed season under Pellegrini, but just takes this spot because Barcelona have a bit of confusion between the sticks. Claudio Bravo tends to start in the League and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in the cup competitions; whether this continues into the last-16 is not yet known.
2/11 RB: Pablo Zabaleta
The city right-back is easily in the top five at his position in the world. Equally capable in defence or attack, Zabaleta plays with a lot of heart and courage, making him a firm favourite among City fans. At one time Dani Alves was considered the best in the world, but the Brazilian has always been a bit of a liability defensively and, at 31, his influence as an attacker is just starting to dwindle.
3/11 CB: Vincent Kompany
The Belgian has certainly declined from his dominant peak a couple of years ago, but he is certainly good enough to get into a Barcelona team that has used converted midfielders Jeremy Mathieu, Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets in defence at times this season.
4/11 CB: Gerard Pique
Pique remains Barcelona's best defender, though he too is a shell of the player that was arguably the world's best a few years ago. The Spaniard has been in and out of the team this season but usually saves his best performances for the biggest matches.
5/11 LB: Jordi Alba
Jordi Alba is a supreme attacking threat and is now more influential to this side than Dani Alves. Gael Clichy is good enough for City in the League but will be seen as a weak point by the visitors.
6/11 CM: Javier Mascherano
He may not be quite as good as Roy Hodgson (who voted him first in the Ballon d'Or) thinks he is, but Mascherano is still one of the very best defensive midfielders in world football. He also plays a crucial role in Luis Enrique's 3-4-3, acting as another defender when Barca are under pressure. Much better than either Fernando or Fernandinho.
7/11 CM: Ivan Rakitic
If Yaya Toure were not suspended for the first game then this would be his spot but City will have to do without their most influential player for the first leg. Rakitic has been so good this year that the decline of Xavi, who will likely start from the bench, and loss of Cesc Fabregas has barely made an impact.
8/11 CM: Andres Iniesta
Another tough decision to include Iniesta over Samir Nasri, who has been brilliant in recent weeks. The Spanish maestro has been far from his best in this season but still has enough in the tank to be a potential match-winner.
9/11 LW: David Silva
This is where it starts to get tough. Neymar is finally living up to his huge hype and has 24 goals in 30 matches already this season. The Brazilian scored 10 goals in Barca's recent 11 match winning streak, providing a brilliant foil to Lionel Messi. With Toure out, David Silva now has to become City's main creator - his performance will define the first leg. City fans will be hoping he can reproduce what he did against Newcastle.
10/11 RW: Lionel Messi
Probably the easiest choice in this side, Messi is undoubtedly one of the top two players in the world. There wouldn't be many who don't select Messi in their dream team.
11/11 ST: Sergio Aguero
Last season, choosing Aguero over Luis Suarez would have been blasphemy. But the Uruguayan has really struggled at Barcelona, scoring just seven goals in 22 matches this season and generally failing to gel with his star-studded team-mates. Aguero appears to have gotten over his small slump to fire three goals in his last two matches.
With the two predicted starting XI’s, we’ve determined that over the course of the 90 minutes, they will collectively receive a reported £23,906.25.
In the grand scheme of astronomical wages, TV rights deals and tournament prize money, this may not seem like such a big figure to see attributed to a Champions League tie.
However, when broken down, it soon becomes easy to see just how much the world’s best footballers receive in comparison to the rest of us.
£336,000 – What Lionel Messi picks up each week in his basic salary (excluding any goal incentives).
£23,906.25 – The sum that all 22 starting players will receive collectively for playing 90 minutes.
£265.63 – How much they will earn collectively every minute.
£12 – Each player will individually receive on average £12 a minute
£7.85 – The national living wage that the majority of Premier League clubs are refusing to pay contracted staff per hour.
13p – What clubs would be paying every minute if they met the national living wage.
The graphic below shows the top 11 players on the highest weekly wage, just in case you didn't feel bad enough already.
Graphics by Zachary Boren
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