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Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Megastars Megapay Morality

20 December 2016

Nowhere outside the unreal world of modern club football does the question of stratospheric salary raise its well-remunerated head. Just how long does it take the average footballer to earn the average wage? You may well guess, but you may well also be astonished.

The Spanish superstars Real Madrid are not so much a football team, more like one of the most recognised brands of the century.

Nevertheless, the Spanish team were recently looking a 2-1 defeat in the face and were about to be brought down to earth by Kashima Antlers, the first Japanese football club to qualify for the World Club Championship competition when the admittedly buff and talented Cristiano Ronaldo, the tombstone toothed and tousle-haired player transformed the game. An equalising goal and two peerless strikes in extra time single-handedly saved Real from the horns, or Antlers, of destruction. A case of Cometh the hour and half, cometh the man.

Sporting success then for Spain’s finest, thanks once again to Ronaldo, who’s ability to bamboozle the opposition has earned Real Madrid the winning share of the fee for taking part, and helped shift a whole new batch of famous white shirts, suitably emblazoned with this latest success. Doubtless a posse of prestigious corporations are already feverishly bidding for the rights to sponsor the club and be associated with their success.

Hardly surprising then, that the 31-year-old is well remunerated. Given that he also scored the winning goal in the European Champions League Final, and in his spare time, captained Portugal to success at international level, you may not flinch too much at learning he earns over £500,000.

That’s £500,000 a day.

We’ll give you a moment to catch your breath, while we hold the business pages.

In 2015, according to figures released by his management company (don’t worry, we think Ronaldo can afford a management company) the Manchester United reject trousered nearly twenty times the UK average annual salary in every twenty-four hours. We’ve done the arithmetic, because we’re good at that as Springfords, and the annual figure is £182m - about £3.5m a week.

His earnings outstrip even the average NHS manager by a factor of over one thousand, and he leaves even household names like Adele trailing in his wake. The singer’s earnings of less than £28m in 2015, according to the Daily Mirror, would hardly see Ronaldo through a five-week month. Although, to be fair, Adele is rubbish on the ball and doesn’t have teeth anything like as impressive as the celebrated striker.

£182m is not bad for a business that has annual overheads of a new pair of football boots and two gallons of hair gel.

At times like these, it’s customary to say how many nurses or policemen could be employed for a similar sum, but it’s more appropriate to ponder how many hospitals could be built for that. The figure in question exceeded the entire wage bill of most UK police forces.

Ronaldo may be the most extreme example of the unreal level of celebrity pay. Such figures are beyond jealously, if not simply beyond comprehension for ordinary working folk. The questionable value to society of paying one man four times the earnings of One Direction, has to be put in perspective. Hundreds of Spaniards are employed at football clubs like Real Madrid, doing all the routine jobs that support the business, and they put their salaries into local businesses. Ronaldo and the like, could be seen as economic drivers, whose salaries recycle into the pockets of many less fortunate people.

No, we’re not convinced either.

While industry directors are subject to daily scrutiny over their pay packages, there are none we know of in the same league as Ronaldo. His ability to generate income for his club is probably beyond doubt, but in terms of value for money to society in general, Ronaldo’s £31,250 per ninety minutes may not seem as useful to families in Madrid, Manchester or Motherwell as the £5,000 earned annually by the average lollipop lady.


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