Who earns the money, honey?
I was enjoying the exciting quarter-finals of the Uefa-2012 soccer tourney this past weekend - as you might have been - when a pal watching with me came up with the comment: "Soccer players earn far too much money these days while car and motorcycle racers, arguably far more skilful, earn considerably less."
Or so he believed.
After his beloved Spanish national side had squarely beaten Germany to advance into the semis, we decided to try to find out, in a light-hearted sort of way, just how much the likes of ace driver and motorcycle greats such as Lewis Hamilton and James Toseland (and by way of comparison soccer star Wayne Rooney) actually stuck away in their Swiss bank vaults for 2010.
One thing’s for sure, the good times continue to roll for our elite sportsmen – no matter their nationality. Just about every sport you can think of is lucrative in the extreme: six-times snooker champion Steve Davis ‘only’ managed to bank the equivalent of about R35-million in 2010. Today he owns a farm in Essex, property in London’s West End and owns a stableful of racehorses.
Jody Scheckter – you do remember him, don’t you? A South African motor racing champion with Ferrari and who at the age of 63, these days, has reinvented himself, as an organic farmer in the UK, managed to bank about R780-million during 2010.
McLaren racing driver Lewis Hamilton, who has one World driving championship to his name, banked R450-million though he still had to realise his earning potential. “I get paid to do my hobby, everything I love,” he says.
Playboy ex-race driver Eddie Irvine banked about R1-billion during 2010 and even in his grandest moment only ever played second fiddle to Michael Schumacher at Ferrari. “Property is the name of the money game,” says Irvine. Seems he has a point.
NOT BAD FOR TOSELAND
Another Scotsman, Dario Franchitti, who turned down an F1 drive some years ago went across the America and joined the CART and Indy circus. He’s still doing very well in Nascar, earning R470-million for his pain and suffering of tearing around an oval track…
British Superbike champ James Toseland has done rather well for himself down the years but the 32-year-old has now given up serious racing and at the time of retiring less than 12 months ago had nine sponsors and a Yamaha factory ride in WSB yet still managing to bank R130-million.
To sum up, it seems soccer players don’t earn quite the wages of their “true” sporting counterparts – but they aren’t really far behind. Some examples for 2010 earnings suggest: Cristiano Ronaldo (ex-Manchester United), R137m; Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), R108m and Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), R85m. Over on the Continent it’s a similar story with the likes of Kaka (Real Madrid), R104m; Samuel Eto’o (Inter Malan), R90m nd Carlos Puyol (Barcelona), R57m.
Football managers… these are the guys who really coin the bucks in the soccer world: Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United), R350-million; Arsene Wenger (Arsenal), R250mand Robert Mancini (Manchester City), R208m.
Now I know why they look so glum when they lose!