A fist-full of dollars

LOOKING AT the latest figures published on how much the top 10 sportsmen – yes, they are all men – in the world earn, I am wondering if we are getting value for money.

Tiger Woods and Michael Schumacher, top of the money league, dwarf everyone else with incomes in excess of 60 million euros. Now, I know that both are very good at holing a golf ball and driving a car, but does that merit such mountains of cash? Presidents and Prime Ministers with highly responsible full-time jobs (not just every other weekend!) are paid a fraction of this amount.

Third, fourth and fifth in the list are American football and basketball stars, who are all rewarded with princely sums of around 30 million euros. David Beckham is the top football player in sixth place. He banks 25 million euros this year. I can’t remember the last time he did something extra special for Madrid or England to justify such a grotesque amount!

Team-mates Ronaldo and Zidane are next on the footballers’ list, pocketing 20 and 30 million euros, and Madrid’s Raul and Figo also make the top 10. Why is it then that Madrid trail Barcelona, who have no mega-earners, by a wide margin? Managers’ salaries have also exploded over the last few years. Mourinho is now the world’s best ever paid coach on 7.5 million euros, followed by Alex Ferguson, Sven Goran Eriksson and Arsene Wenger who take home 4.4 million euros. Poor Rafael Benitez only gets 2.6 million euros, but still reached the European Cup final ahead of his financial peers. Sometimes, money does not make the world go round.