Why the bad feeling for footballers on the rich list?

Yesterday Goal.com published their annual rich list - and the majority of the players on it, says the site's Managing Editor, do a huge amount of good for charity

Share
Related Topics

The ludicrously flash sports cars, the gaudy mock tudor houses, the diamond-encrusted watches and, of course, the designer-clad WAGs - the trappings and trinkets that accompany a footballer’s career are as synonymous with their lives as their exploits on the pitch. 


In a country obsessed with "the beautiful game" we have a love-hate relationship with its protagonists – particularly when it comes to what they do with the extraordinary wealth that comes with the job. 


We praise and deride players in equal measure, paying through the nose to watch them at stadiums or via a premium TV sports package, yet we also view them as out of touch, aloof and reckless with their cash, splurging on bling instead of investing wisely and helping others.


This week, Goal published the first global rich list of footballers measuring their net worth, taking into account their salaries, endorsements, business interests and assets. 
The figures are mind-boggling. Topping the £1.7 billion list - which features 50 players -  is David Beckham who is worth a staggering £175m, closely followed by Lionel Messi ( £115.5m) and Cristiano Ronaldo (£112m). 


Our readers all over the world have responded fantastically to it, rejoicing in the high placing of their favourite player or marvelling at the surprising business acumen unexpectedly demonstrated by certain stars. 
Yet in Britain the response seems to be different.  
Cynicism prevails with readers commenting negatively. “Who gives a damn – we’ll never see a penny” says David from Reading, while Amy from Guildford states "What a bunch of overpaid primadonnas". 
We respond in this way because footballers have an image problem in Britain and are in as much need of a PR makeover as the Findus Lasagne. 


The relationship between footballers, the clubs that own them and the media is one of distrust and suspicion. Clubs worry excessively that their players will get ‘stitched up’ by overzealous sports editors so they train their employees to give ultra-safe stock responses to journalists’ questions - journalists who in turn are left to scramble for stories amidst a sea of bland quotes. 
With no interesting quotes coming out of the mixed zones and press conferences, reporters are left to look at the personal and private lives of footballers in order to make headlines. Paparazzi photographers follow footballers everywhere, players shun journalists unless they are obliged to speak and this leads to more distrust. It is a vicious circle that serves only the paranoid clubs.


Meanwhile, the majority of footballers are putting their time and money to good use setting up charities and foundations to transform the lives of people less fortunate than them. 
Rio Ferdinand, who is placed at number 10 on the Goal Rich List thanks partly to his successful business ventures, which include an online magazine, clothing line, record label and restaurant, says: “Footballers are in a privileged position - it's imperative we give back. We probably don't get as good a press as we should - but 99 per cent of footballers do stuff for their charities.”

Overlooked

In 2009 the 34-year-old defender launched the Rio Ferdinand Foundation to help train young people from socially-disadvantaged backgrounds. 
Throughout the football world acts of philanthropy continue to inspire – yet go largely overlooked. 
David Beckham made the headlines by unexpectedly announcing that he was giving his entire salary from Paris St. Germain to a children’s charity in France but other footballers have been making similarly notable gestures for years. The former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba had a hospital built in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire by donating the £3m fee he received from an endorsement deal with Pepsi. Ex-Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt has a foundation that helps handicapped athletes - a benefactor recently came in the form of his Dutch teammate Robin van Persie, who donated the £30,000 cheque he received for being the Premier League's top scorer last season. Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo handed over £100,000 to fund a cancer centre in his native Madeira after his mother was treated for the illness there. The list goes on.


In this testing economic climate few could argue that the world’s top footballers deserve what they earn in relation to how much we pay our nurses, paramedics or members of the armed forces. But when you consider just how much money is being poured into the game from global blue-chip sponsors and via the ever-growing TV rights deals, it seems only right that the players get their share of the spoils.

And when you know that Lionel Messi is putting some of that £250,000 a week towards building a desperately-needed education centre in an impoverished district in Anatuya, northern Argentina it makes the whole concept a lot more palatable. 


Yes they may have a questionable taste in watches, cars and homes – but footballers are the self-made millionaires of sport. They deserve to be lauded for their success and all the rewards that come with it. 



Amar Singh is Managing Editor of Goal.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: EWI / IWI Installer

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Freeman, centre, with Lord Gladwyn, left, and Harold Wilson on the programme The Great Divide in 1963  

John Freeman was a man of note who chose to erase himself from history

Terence Blacker
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Mr. Cameron is beginning to earn small victories in Europe

Andrew Grice
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'