Jon Swift
2 minute read
5 Aug 2017
5:35 am

Ney, maar they pay big bucks

Jon Swift

Brazilian Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain comes with an annual salary of $35.5 million.

Individual salaries in professional sport have reached proportions which would bail out a goodly number of this country’s failing municipalities and rescue them from their own profligacy.

Clearly there is no billing crisis in this particular strata of sporting mega-finance.

Proof positive of this has been the week-long saga of Brazilian Neymar’s world record transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, which entailed a $264 million buyout of his contract on a five-year deal with the French club – and comes with an annual salary of $35.5 million.

Equally clearly, the charismatic Brazilian will not be frightened by one of those vastly inflated Parisian restaurant bills if he decides on a night of champagne and caviar.

The fee paid by Paris Saint-Germain more than doubles the previous record laid out by Manchester United to lure French star Paul Pogba to Old Trafford from Juventus.

And it would be foolish in the extreme to believe that this is where the spiral ends. It could be argued that player costs are driven by market demand and the voracious appetites of the growing global television audience.

But how, you might ask, can any football player be worth that kind of money when he is, after all, only part of a team – and a superb individual athlete like Usain Bolt be worth slightly north of $60 million as the recognised fastest man on the planet?

But the riches lavished on sports stars pale when weighed against the superstars on American sport.

The National Basketball Association’s LeBron Baron – ironically in the language of his sport referred to as a “small forward” or “The 3”despite being 2.03m tall – earned $86 million on-court and $55 million off it as the leading light of the Cleveland Cavaliers line-up.

Not bad money, you would think, for a man who can bounce a ball through a hoop.

Jon Swift

Jon Swift