Saturday, April 28, 2012

The World's Highest Paid Footballers

At the beginning of April I posted an article on 'The World's Highest Paid Football Managers.'
Today I am going to focus on 'The World's Highest Paid Football Players.'

The last couple of years have been massive in the world of football sponsorships, with high profile players understandably benefiting the most, as brands from both inside and outside the world of football bankroll the top stars in the run up to the European Championships and the London Olympics this summer.

Mega-bucks clubs like Manchester City and Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala are doing multi-million pound deals in the pursuit of glory. Some ten years or so ago the average footballers pay in the UK was about five times that of the average weekly wage of the man in the street. Today however the football world is giving millions of pounds to the elite players, and their wages are literally going off the richter scale!

While some saw the abolition of football's maximum wage, which had capped players' pay at £20 a week, as a defining moment in the game's history, others view the 18th January 1961, as the day football - and, more importantly, footballers - began to lose touch with reality. The wages spiral did not immediately follow the abolition of the maximum wage. It was only when stars such as Denis Law and Jimmy Greaves left to play in Italy for bigger salaries in the summer of 1961 that the clubs realised they were going to have to pay out for top talent.

By the end of the decade, George Best was earning £1,000 a week at United The real explosion in players' pay came about in 1992 when the Premier League was founded and Sky TV coverage was launched. Liverpool's John Barnes was then the highest-paid player in the country at the time - on £10,000 a week. A decade later, wages escalated dramatically, partly as a result of the introduction of the Bosman ruling, which allowed players to move for free at the end of their contracts. It was at this time that we saw the first £100,000 a week footballer.

Some say it has gone way too far now, with players in 90 per cent of football clubs being paid far more than their clubs can afford.

In 1980 the average weekly wage in the UK was: £124.
In 1980 the average weekly pay for a player in the top flight was: £550.

In 1990 the average weekly wage in the UK was: £295.
In 1990 the average weekly pay for a player in the top flight was: £1500.

In 2000 the average weekly wage in the UK was: £473.
In 2000 the average weekly pay for a player in the top flight was: £11,184.

In 2010 the average weekly wage in the UK was: £656.
In 2010 the average weekly pay for a player in the top flight was: £33,868.

While Bill Shankly built a Liverpool team in 1960 on a total wage bill of £517 a week, Manchester City have committed £500million to salaries in their bid for Premier League glory.

There is a staggering gap between what top players earn and what the average person gets and the relationship between players and the public really isn't that great any more.

The fans aren't stupid and they see too many 'average millionaires.' They will forgive players and the money if they feel that they really earn it, both on and off the pitch, but too many of them don't. Some players can't even be bothered to take their headphones off or give the fans an autograph when they're getting off the team coach.

Here is an up-to-date list of: 'The Top 10 Highest-Paid Footballers in the World.'

10/ Philip Lahm - FC Bayern Munich and Germany, £11.9m per annum.

Born: 11th November 1983 (age 28)
Previous clubs: Bayern Munich II, VfB Stuttgart (loan)
Honours won:
Bayern Munich:
Bundesliga: 2002–03, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, DFB-Pokal: 2002–03, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10,
FIFA World Cup Third Place: 2006, 2010,  UEFA European Football Championship Runner-up: 2008, UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship Runner-up: 2002.
UEFA Team of the Year: 2006, 2008, FIFA Team of the Year: 2008

Captain of the German national side, Lahm’s renewed deal with his Bavarian club has had a year to mature, putting him amongst the world’s highest earners for the first time. He has also inked a lucrative deal to wear adidas football boots.

9/ Kaká - Real Madrid and Brazil, £12.9m per annum.

Born: 22nd April 1982 (age 30)
Previous clubs: São Paulo, AC Milan
Honours won:
AC Milan:
Serie A: 2003–04, UEFA Champions League: 2006–07, UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007, FIFA Club World Cup: 2007.
Real Madrid:
Copa del Rey: 2010–11
FIFA World Cup: 2002, FIFA Confederations Cup: 2005, 2009
FIFA World Player of the Year: 2007, World Soccer Player of the Year: 2007, Serie A Footballer of the Year: 2004, 2007, UEFA Champions League Top Scorer: 2006–07,

As well as a 'healthy' contract with Spanish giants Real Madrid, Kaka’s clean cut image have helped him keep his finances among the highest in world football, as deals with adidas and EA Sports supplement his Los Blancos paycheque. It's interesting to note that the 30 year-old's 'on-field performances' have been a little inconsistent of late, which has meant that the Brazilian midfielder is actually earning around £2m less than this time last year.

8/ Fernando Torres - Chelsea and Spain, £13.9m per annum.

Born: 20th March 1984 (age 28)
Previous clubs: Atlético Madrid, Liverpool
Honours won:
Atlético Madrid:
Segunda División: 2001-02
FIFA World Cup Winner: 2010, UEFA European Championship: 2008, UEFA European Under-16 Football Championship (1): 2001, UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship: 2002

Despite his well-documented troubles since his move to Stamford Bridge, Spanish striker Torres’ deal that took him from Merseyside to London with Chelsea has propelled him into the Top 10 highest-paid footballers for the first time in his career.
Addition spending money comes from the likes of Pepsi and Nike, who will hope that their investment can force his way back into the Spain squad in time for Euro 2012.

7/ Yaya Touré - Manchester City and Ivory Coast, £14.7m per annum.

Born: 13th May 1983 (age 28)
Previous clubs: Beveren, Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos, Monaco, Barcelona
Honours won:
Super League Greece: 2005–06, Greek Cup: 2005–06
La Liga: 2008–09, 2009–10, Copa del Rey: 2008–09, Supercopa de España: 2009, UEFA Champions League: 2008–09, UEFA Super Cup: 2009, FIFA Club World Cup: 2009
Manchester City:
FA Cup: 2010–11
African Footballer of the Year: 2011

Another player to benefit from a new deal at a new club is Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure. The 2011 African footballer of the year has become a key member of the City squad since his move from Barcelona, and it’s worth noting he donates his sponsorship money from his Puma boot deal to charity.

6/ Sergio Agüero - Manchester City and Argentina, £15.7m per annum.

Born: 2nd June 1988 (age 23)
Previous clubs: Club Atlético Independiente, Atlético Madrid
Honours won:
Atlético Madrid:
UEFA Europa League: 2009–10, UEFA Super Cup: 2010
FIFA U-20 World Cup winner: 2005, 2007, Summer Olympics: 2008
FIFA Young Player of the Year: 2007, FIFA U-20 World Cup Top Scorer (1): 2007, FIFA U-20 World Cup Player of the Tournament: 2007, La Liga Ibero-American Player of the Year: 2008, Don Balón Award: 2007–08

It’s a similar story for Toure’s team-mate and fellow Puma sponsor-ee Sergio Aguero. The Argentine striker has quickly proven his worth at the Etihad Stadium – with 29 goals to date in all competitions this season, for the blue half of Manchester. He has switched his boot supplier to Puma following a protracted move from Nike.

5/ Wayne Rooney - Manchester United and England, £17.2m per annum.

Born: 24th October 1985 (age 26)
Previous clubs: Everton
Honours won:
Manchester United:
Premier League: 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11, Football League Cup: 2005–06, 2009–10, UEFA Champions League: 2007–08, FIFA Club World Cup: 2008
PFA Players' Player of the Year: 2009–10, PFA Young Player of the Year: 2004–05, 2005–06, FWA Footballer of the Year: 2009–10, Goal of the Season: 2004–05, 2006–07, 2010–11, Barclays Player of the Year: 2009–10, England Player of the Year: 2008, 2009

Despite often being at the centre of controversy, Manchester United hitman Wayne Rooney has boosted his earnings by nearly £5m over the past 12 months to enter the top 5 highest-paid footballers for the first time in his career. Rooney's ban for the opening two group games of Euro 2012 will have no doubt  upset his sponsors somewhat, but the likes of Nike and EA Sports will be thrilled with his performances on the field for the Red Devils this season. He has netted 36 goals to date in all competitions.

4/ Samuel Eto’o - FC Anzhi Makhachkala and Cameroon, £19.4m per annum.

Born: 10th March 1981 (age 31)
Previous clubs: Real Madrid, Leganés (loan), Espanyol (loan), RCD Mallorca, Barcelona, Internazionale Milano
Honours won:
RCD Mallorca:
Copa del Rey: 2003
La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, Copa del Rey: 2009, UEFA Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09
Internazionale: Serie A: 2009–10, Coppa Italia: 2010, 2011, Supercoppa Italiana: 2010, UEFA Champions League: 2009–10, FIFA Club World Cup: 2010
African Cup of Nations: 2000, 2002, Olympic Gold Medal: 2000
Young African Player of the Year: 2000, African Player of the Year: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, African Cup of Nations Top Scorer: 2006, 2008, African Cup of Nations All-Time Top Scorer, La Liga Top Scorer: 2006, 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year- Third, UEFA Champions League Final Man of the Match 2006

The most decorated African player of all time,Samuel Eto’o has won the African player of the year four times. With a move last year to Russian club FC Anzhi Makhachkala, Eto’o became the highest paid footballer of all time. Adding to that the Cameroon international can boast Ford and Puma to his sponsorship list in the last 12 months.

3/ Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid and Portugal, £24.3m per annum.

Born: 5th February 1985 (age 27)
Previous clubs: Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United
Honours won:
Manchester United:
Premier League: 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, FA Cup: 2003–04, League Cup: 2005–06, 2008–09, UEFA Champions League: 2007–08, FIFA Club World Cup: 2008
Real Madrid:
Copa del Rey: 2010–11
Portuguese Footballer of the Year: 2006–07, PFA Young Player of the Year: 2006–07, PFA Players' Player of the Year: 2006–07, 2007–08, FWA Footballer of the Year: 2006–07, 2007–08, Barclays Player of the Year: 2006–07, 2007–08, Premier League Golden Boot: 2007–08, UEFA Champions League Top scorer: 2007–08, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2007–08, FIFA Club World Cup Silver Ball: 2008, Ballon d'Or (1): 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year: 2008, World Soccer Player of the Year: 2008 FIFA Puskás Award: 2009, Copa del Rey top goalscorer: 2010–11, La Liga top scorer: 2010–11

The Portuguese playmaker and national squad captain Cristiano Ronaldo has bolstered his annual earnings by over £1.5m since this time last year. As well as being officially the most expensive player in the world, the superstar’s deal to keep him in Nike Mercurial football boots is reportedly one of the biggest in sport. Throw in his status as the most socially-networked athlete in the world, and due to this popularity Ronaldo has also secured sponsorship deals from brands like Armani, Coca-Cola and Castrol. He is a priceless face for any company!

2/ David Beckham - Los Angeles Galaxy and England, £26.2m per annum.

Born: 2nd May 1975 (age 36)
Previous clubs: Manchester United, Preston North End (loan), Real Madrid, AC Milan (loan)
Honours won:
Manchester United:
Premier League: 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, FA Cup: 1995–96, 1998–99, UEFA Champions League: 1998–99
Real Madrid:
La Liga: 2006–07, Supercopa de España: 2003
Los Angeles Galaxy:
MLS Supporters' Shield: 2010, 2011, MLS Cup: 2011
PFA Young Player of the Year: 1996–97, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 1998–99, Premier League Goal of the Decade, England Player of the Year: 2003, Real Madrid Player of the Year: 2005-2006, English Football Hall of Fame: 2008, Officer in the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II: 2003

After much pontification over the MLS off-season, Beckham turned down a potentially massive move to top French side Paris Saint-Germain, in favour of staying with the LA Galaxy for at least one more season. The former England captain’s new deal with the Galaxy and his hugely-marketed underwear deal with highstreet fashion label H&M, saw him earn over £2m more per annum than in the previous financial year.
Also his deal with adidas is the biggest deal in the footballing world, and part of that deal sees him earn 'bonus' money for every signed boot that the company sells. Adding to that his sponsorship deals with Samsung, who made him their company brand ambassador, and Pepsi make Becks the 2nd highest paid footballer on the list.

1/ Lionel Messi - Barcelona and Argentina, £27.5m per annum.

Born: 24th June 1987 (age 24)
Previous clubs: Club Atlético Newell's Old Boys
Honours won:
La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, Copa del Rey: 2008–09, Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, UEFA Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11, UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011, FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011
FIFA U-20 World Cup: 2005, Olympic Gold Medal: 2008
FIFA Ballon d'Or: 2010, 2011, World's Top Goal Scorer of the Year 2011, Ballon d'Or: 2009, FIFA World Player of the Year: 2009, World Soccer Player of the Year: 2009, 2011, World Soccer Young Player of the Year: 2006, 2007, 2008, La Liga top goalscorer: 2010, Copa del Rey top goalscorer: 2011, La Liga Player of the Year: 2009, 2010, 2011, La Liga Foreign Player of the Year: 2007, 2009, 2010, UEFA Champions League top goalscorer: 2009, 2010, 2011, European Golden Shoe 2010, UEFA Best Player in Europe Award: 2011, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2009, FIFA U-20 World Cup Player of the Tournament: 2005, FIFA U-20 World Cup top goalscorer: 2005, Copa América Young Player of the Tournament: 2007

After a record-breaking last 12 months, the mercurial Messi’s earnings are now as superfluous as the words used to describe him. A signature clothing range with adidas and a deal to see him become the cover star for EA Sports games from this season onward has seen the Barca ace add nearly £8m to his earnings over the past 12 months. He also boasts sponsorship deals with adidas, Konami, PepsiCo, Lay’s, Air Europa and Chery. Should his history-making form continue, it’s likely that we’ll see that figure continue to rise – over the next 12 months.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Football players and their bizarre fashion trends!

As we all know football players are well known for their unusual and often bizarre antics on and off the field! Many players and managers often have peculiar habits, rituals and superstitions they go through before, during and after a game. This seemingly irrational behaviour may not affect the outcome of a match, but it does give the players themselves piece of mind. Football players are often looked upon as role models, so when it comes to setting fashion trends they are on occasions credited with being the architects as well as the the victims of their own creations!

Here is a list of some of the worst fashion trends in world football!

1/ Personalised Boots:

Who came up with the idea for stitching individual names onto boots. What started off as a canny PR stunt has become a plague. Now every run of the mill tom, dick and harry in the game has their name, their initials, squad number or the names of their children on their footwear.

The trend reached its nadir last November when, following the completely pointless and fabricated row over England's players not being allowed to wear poppies on their shirts when they played Spain in a friendly, several players had a small image of the flower stitched on to their boots. There is, of course, nothing wrong with Remembrance Day and paying tribute to all those men and women who were killed during the two World Wars and other conflicts, in whatever way you see fit, but it did smack of an opportunistic gimmick from the kit manufacturers.

2/ Trusox:

These days, your boots aren’t the only thing that can aid your performance. Your socks can also play a major role, which is why players are reportedly cutting up their socks. To get more of a grip in their hi-tech boots players are cutting up their socks and, instead, they use short tennis ones, with supposedly better traction. That explains why so many Premier League players are now using tape to cover up their secret.

England players often train in short tennis socks as they prefer them to thicker ­football socks. It is a new fashion way beyond hold-ups, that most fans assume is the reason for the tape.
However you guessed it, there is now a product on the market that players can use to give them added traction, instead of cutting up their socks.

This is where 'Trusox' comes into the equation. Trusox have seen a large player uptake in the Premier League this season, with names such as Emanuel Adebayor, Aaron Lennon (right), Demba Ba, Marouane Fellaini and Stephen Ward amongst some of the names who have been seen wearing Trusox this season.

The official line regarding this product is as follows: "The Trusox is a bit like a golf glove for your feet, and they boost your speed and agility. Whenever you need to change direction, you need to maximise power transfer. To do this, you need to ensure your foot stays secure within your boot, which is where the Trusox come into the game. Trusox stop the repetitive motions between the foot, sock and shoe to ensure you have the maximum power when you change direction. This is achieved by the non-slip applications on the outside and inside of the socks. This stops the sock from sliding on your foot and the sock from sliding within the shoe."

Heaven forbid! Whatever next!

3/ Black Face Paint:

'Eye Black' is a grease applied under the eyes to reduce glare. It is often used by athletes, particularly in North America, where sunlight or stadium lights can impair vision of an airborne ball. Eye black has been used for centuries to help reduce the glare of the sun. Traditional grease consists of beeswax, paraffin, and carbon. Anti-glare face stripes that emulate the grease are also commonly used.

A 2003 study by Brian DeBroff and Patricia Pahk tested whether black eye grease actually had anti-glare properties. The subjects' vision was tested using an eye chart while being exposed to natural sunlight. The study concluded that eye black reduced glare of the sun and improved contrast sensitivity, whereas commercial anti-glare stickers and petroleum jelly were found to be ineffective. A further study which set to improve DeBroff's methodology also found eye black to reduce glare from the sun, but less so in blue-eyed individuals and males.

Rüştü Reçber (right) is a Turkish international goalkeeper who currently plays for Beşiktaş J.K. in the Turkish Süper Lig, having previously played for Antalyaspor, Fenerbahçe and Barcelona. Yet his tribal looking war-paint wasn’t a good look. All it really did was earn peculiar glares from fans across the world. 

4/ Man Bags:

This is another recent phenomenon which has been embraced enthusiastically by today's metrosexual footballers. Understandably players need a bag of sorts to carry with them containing their shower gel, shampoo, hair products e.t.c to use after training and on match day, but does it have to be one of those rather effeminate, strapless clutch bags?

Louis Vuitton seem to have cornered the market in these, probably because they are the most expensive and have the most logos per square inch.

But seriously, when you see a burly, six-foot-plus centre-forward emerge after training with one of those under their arm, in my eyes it just doesn't sit right!

5/ Football Shirts Gimmicks:

Over the years we have all been subjected to some rather eye catching shirt designs for all the wrong reasons, but the latest shirt gimmick phenomenon to be launched is rather questionable. It is unsurprisingly more about player exposure and additional finance through modern technology than about shirt design and colour.

For example, Mexican first division side Jaguares de Chiapas announced at the start of the season that, instead of their players' names being printed on the back of their shirts, they would be using their Twitter handles instead.

Then there is Spanish La Liga side Sevilla, who are giving their fans the chance to have their own face printed on the club's shirts (right), for just €25 a pop.

Value for money? Well each face on a shirt is only 2mm X 2mm in size, so you do the maths!

6/ Nasal Strips:

Nasal strips are like a Band-Aid with a flexible backbone that holds the nostrils open when the strip is stuck across the bridge of the nose. Despite medical science concluding that nasal strips have little or no effect on breathing or performance the effectiveness of that nasal strips in aiding air intake during a football match, it didn't stop players, such as Robbie Fowler, from using them to decorate their nose on the field of play.

7/ Hair Styles:

From girly accessories to mohawks, footballers have been known to sport bizarre hair styles. But when the players of my home town club Bromley FC were visited by a barber last November, before their FA Cup first round match against Leyton Orient, to have barcodes shaved into their heads - they surely took hair styling to a new level.

Wayne Rooney's hair stylist was drafted in to give the underdogs the unique look for their big match. Celebrity stylist Daniel Johnson (right) was asked to shave Quick Response (QR) codes on the back of Bromley's starting line-up's heads, which, when scanned with a smartphone reader will link to betting company Betfair's mobile site.

Bromley boss Mark Goldberg added: "This is a great tie up for the club, a little unconventional, but great nonetheless. The lads were shocked when I asked them to take part but they know what this could mean for the club and they're looking forward to showing them off in our biggest game of the season."

Johnson said: "I'm used to styling footballers' hair - and trust me I've had some weird requests from them before - but this was in a different league. The QR cuts certainly put my skills to the test."

8/ Kinesio Tape:

Since when does insulation tape make you perform to a greater level? Gareth Bale (below), among others, are often seen sporting the £40 Kinseo product, which was said to allow players to get through the pain barrier and perform for longer. I have my doubts!

The official line regarding this product is as follows: "Kinesio Taping gives support and stability to your joints and muscles without affecting circulation and range of motion. Initially, orthopaedists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and other medical practitioners were the main users of Kinesio Taping. Soon thereafter, Kinesio Taping was used by the Japanese Olympic volleyball players and word quickly spread to other athletes. Today, Kinesio Taping is used by medical practitioners and athletes around the world. The Kinesio Taping Method is applied over muscles to reduce pain and inflammation, relax overused tired muscles, and to support muscles in movement on a 24hr/day basis. It is non-restrictive type of taping which allows for full range of motion.

Kinesio Tape is used for anything from headaches to foot problems and everything in between including: lower back strain/pain, knee conditions, hamstring and groin injuries, patella tracking, ankle sprains and as a support method."

9/ Vapo-Rub:

The greasy patch below the neck was the hallmark of the early 2000’s, with many Premier League football stars believing the effects of such products would open their airways during a game. There may be some truth in this, but it is also known to make your eyes water, as well as inevitably staining the shirt. Instead of aiding their performance more often than not it often looked as if said player had simply blown his nose on his shirt or dropped his pre-match meal down himself.

10/ The Snood:

I can understand wearing a snood in Siberia, where temperatures there reach way below zero, but in the Premier League snoods have no place. The likes of Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez (right), often sported the scarf/rag around their neck during play, looking rather silly in the process.
Luckily the International FA Board banned the wearing of snoods on the 1st July 2011, although it's bad enough that we still have to watch grown men running around wearing tights and gloves, often bizarrely accompanied by a short-sleeve shirt!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Controversial and amusing messages on t-shirts worn by footballers

Without by any means wanting to take any of the spotlight away from a couple of very sad and high profile incidents within football recently, I would like to say that there have been many wonderful goodwill gestures by players and fans alike, many in the form of messages on t-shirts, in support of both Fabrice Muamba and Stiliyan Petrov, and in addition an extremely touching gesture by Southampton striker Billy Sharp. I would like to take this opportunity to say to all of them good luck, stay strong and my thoughts are with you. I sincerely hope that they will all make a full recovery or at least are able to come to terms with their own personal torment and anguish, sorrow and sadness.

Professional footballers in the major leagues in Europe and during major tournaments like the World Cup are regularly under immense pressure both in terms of their performance and in how they act personally on and off the pitch. This means that when they score a goal, they understandably tend to go a 'bit over the top.’

Some footballers however, who are confident enough before the game that they will score, prepare often poignant, controversial or funny t-shirts to wear underneath their strip, with a message to be revealed when the cameras are squarely on them just after they’ve stuck the ball in the back of the net.
Here are some of the more famous examples of this and what message each football star chose to convey…

1. Lee Trundle.

After Swansea beat Carlisle in the 2006 final of the Football League Trophy at the Millennium Stadium, Trundle removed his shirt to reveal a T-shirt showing a cartoon of a man in a Swansea kit peeing on a Cardiff shirt. The tricky scouser made sure he'd never be welcome in any Cardiff boozer for the rest of his life as he continued to celebrate his team's 2-1 success that day by parading a Wales flag around the Millennium Stadium with the words "F*ck off, Cardiff" emblazoned on it.
Both Trundle and team-mate Alan Tate were arrested by police three days later for taunting Cardiff City FC and their fans following the victory.
A South Wales Police statement read: "South Wales Police have arrested a 23-year-old man and a 29-year-old man on suspicion of section four public order offences, and that both men had been bailed as a result."

2. El Hadji Diouf.

Controversy folows Diouf wherever he goes! At the 2002 World Cup, the Blackburn player celebrated scoring for Senegal by lifting up his shirt to reveal a T-shirt bearing a face that looked a lot like Osama bin Laden. Actually, it was Cheikh Amadou Bamba, a Senegalese mystic who Diouf follows.

3. Artur Boruc.

In April 2008, the controversial Celtic goalkeeper caused a religion-related ruckus when he revealed a T-shirt bearing bearing a picture of the late Pope John Paul II and saying "God Bless the Pope" in a game against Rangers.
Then-Celtic manager Gordon Strachan made light of the antics of his 'Holy Goalie,' a name given to him due to his custom of blessing himself before games. "If it was ‘God bless Myra Hindley,’ I might have a problem," joked Strachan.
Politicians didn’t see the funny side. Gregory Campbell, a Democratic Unionist Party MP, tabled a House of Commons motion 'deeply regretting' the Pole’s behaviour during the Old Firm match.

4. Mohamed Aboutrika.

At the 2008 African Cup of Nations, the Egyptian midfielder lifted his shirt after scoring against Sudan to reveal a T-shirt bearing the message "Sympathy with Gaza." He was given a yellow card for breaking FIFA’s rule against displaying political slogans during play, but received no further punishment for his political statement.
Some Arab commentators described this yellow card as a 'honourable punishment' for any athlete. In Gaza, Palestinian people went out, raising Aboutrika's photos thanking him and appreciating his act.

5. Paul Tait.

Tait played for Birmingham City for eleven year, without distinction. His most famous moment came in the 1995 Auto Windscreens Shield final, when, after scoring the 103rd-minute ‘golden goal’ winner against Carlisle United, he revealed a T-shirt that read: "Shit on the Villa". That's Aston Villa, Birmingham’s rivals, in case there was any doubt about which Villa he meant. He was fined two weeks' wages for the incident.

6. James Beattie.

An optimistic James Beattie went for the rather obscure phrase "Obvious" which was written on a t-shirt which he displayed after scoring for Southampton against Middlesbrough in 2003, as a 'nudge' to then-England boss Sven Goran Eriksson that he wanted to wear the Three Lions on his chest. That year Beattie did go on to earn the first of his five England caps under the ever experimental Sven Goran-Eriksson. It was in a 3-1 loss to Australia at Upton Park, which incidentally was the same game that Wayne Rooney made his debut. Unfortunately for Beattie though his career did not follow a similar path to Rooney’s.
He played his last ever game for England in November 2003 and was not selected for the Euro 2004 squad. Beattie, now 34 currently plys his trade in the third tier of English football with League One side Sheffield United.

7. Mario Balotelli.

Manchester City went about making a collective statement of intent with their 6-1 hammering of Manchester United at Old Trafford in October 2011, but it was a personal message from Mario Balotelli that got the ball rolling for Roberto Mancini's men at the Theatre of Dreams.

As a footballer with an almost innate ability to attract headlines on both the front and back pages of the press, it was fitting for the Italian to question his critics in the printed word. After his wonderfully taken 22nd minute strike to break the deadlock, the former Inter Milan player turned and lifted his jersey to reveal a sky blue shirt reading "Why always me?" - no doubt a nod to the brewing media storm prior to the match, after it was revealed that he had set fire to his house, by setting off fireworks in his bathroom in the early hours of Saturday morning.
He was the coolest man inside Old Trafford that day, after stroking home the first of his two goals in the Manchester demolition derby.

8. Robbie Fowler.

There was little more Robbie Fowler, otherwise known as God in Liverpool could do to increase his popularity in the red half of Merseyside during the 1990's, but his showing of solidarity with striking dockworkers in the city, in a European Cup Winners’ Cup tie against Brann in March 1997 only served to cement the striker as a Kop hero.
Originally from Toxteth, an area synonymous with the city’s docking community, Fowler unveiled a T-shirt with a fake Calvin Klein logo that read: "Support the 500 Sacked Dockers". The forward received a fine of £1,400 for his actions.

9. Marco Materazzi.

If Balotelli is Manchester City's provocateur-in-chief, then it's possible that the Italian learnt a few tricks in infuriating his opponents from former Inter team-mate Marco Materazzi.

As the Italian side secured a historic treble under Jose Mourinho, with a Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in Madrid in May 2010, the defender, who came on as a substitute in on the 92nd minute substitute, felt compelled to rub his side's success in the faces of their derby d'Italia rivals Juventus.

Wearing a T-shirt with a picture of the defender holding the Champions League trophy and the words "Do you want this too?" in reference to Juventus' request for Inter to be stripped of their 2005-06 Serie A title as a result of match-fixing allegations that formed part of the Italian football's 'Calciopoli Scandal.'

...................and for those well endowed football supporting ladies out there, who may want to let guys with ' wandering eye trouble' know how you feel, this t-shirt is especially for you!

Thank you God for............Beer, Footy and Birds!

Friday, April 06, 2012

The World's Highest Paid Football Managers

Big Earners - José Mourinho (left) and Josep Guardiola

1. Jose Mourinio (Real Madrid, €10m per annum)

Born: 26th January 1963 (age 49).
Place of birth: Setúbal, Portugal.
Previous clubs managed: Benfica, União de Leiria, Porto, Chelsea, Internazionale.
Major club honours won as a manager:
Porto - Primeira Liga (2): 2002–03, 2003–04, UEFA Champions League (1): 2003–04, UEFA Cup (1): 2002–03.

Chelsea - Premier League (2): 2004–05, 2005–06, FA Cup (1): 2006–07, Football League Cup (2): 2004–05, 2006–07.

Internazionale: Serie A (2): 2008–09, 2009–10, Coppa Italia (1): 2009–10, UEFA Champions League (1): 2009–10

Real Madrid - Copa del Rey (1): 2010–11

2= Josep "Pep" Guardiola (Barcelona, €7.5m per annum)

Born: 18th January 1971 (age 41).
Place of birth: Santpedor, Spain.
Previous clubs managed: Barcelona 'B', Barcelona.
Major club honours won as a manager:
Barcelona 'B' - Segunda División B (1): 1990-91

Barcelona - La Liga (6): 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1997–98, 1998–99, Copa del Rey (2): 1996–97, 1997–98, European Cup (1): 1991–92, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1996–97, UEFA Super Cup (2): 1992, 1997

2= Guus Hiddink (Anzhi Makhachkala, €7.5m per annum)

Born: 8th November 1946 (age 65).
Place of birth: Varsseveld, Netherlands.
Previous clubs managed: De Graafschap, PSV Eindhoven (twice), Fenerbahçe, Valencia, Netherlands, Real Madrid, Real Betis, South Korea, Australia, Russia, Chelsea (caretaker), Turkey.
Major club honours won as a manager:
PSV Eindhoven - Eredivisie (6): 1987, 1988, 1989, 2003, 2005, 2006, KNVB Cup (4): 1988, 1989, 1990, 2005, Dutch Supercup (1): 1993, UEFA European Cup (1): 1988

Real Madrid - Intercontinental Cup (1): 1998

Chelsea - FA Cup (1): 2009

International honours:
Netherlands - UEFA Euro 1996: Quarter Finals
South Korea - 2002 FIFA World Cup: Fourth Place
Russia - UEFA Euro 2008: Semi-final

4. Roberto Mancini (Manchester City, €6.0m per annum)

Born: 27th November 1964 (age 47).
Place of birth: Jesi, Ancona, Italy.
Previous clubs managed: Fiorentina, Lazio, Internazionale.
Major club honours won as a manager:
Fiorentina - Coppa Italia: 2000–01

Lazio - Coppa Italia: 2003–04

Internazionale - Serie A: (3) 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, Coppa Italia: (2) 2004–05, 2005–06

Manchester City - FA Cup (1) 2010–11

5. Carlo Ancelotti (Paris St-Germain, €5.9m per annum)

Born: 10th June 1959 (age 52).
Place of birth: Reggiolo, Italy).
Previous clubs managed: Reggiana, Parma, Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea.
AC Milan - Serie A (1): 2003-04, Coppa Italia (1): 2002-03, UEFA Champions League (2): 2002-03, 2006-07, UEFA Super Cup (2): 2003, 2007, FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2007

Chelsea - Premier League (1): 2009-10, FA Cup (1): 2009-10

6. Josef "Jupp" Heynckes (FC Bayern Munich, €5.0m per annum)

Born: 9th May 1945 (age 66).
Place of birth: Mönchengladbach, Germany.
Previous clubs managed: Borussia Mönchengladbach (twice), Bayern Munich (3 times), Athletic Bilbao (twice), Eintracht Frankfurt, Tenerife, Real Madrid, Benfica, Schalke 04, Bayer Leverkusen.
Major club honours won as a manager:
Bayern Munich - Fußball-Bundesliga: 1988–89, 1989–90, DFL-Supercup: 1987

Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League: 1997–98, Supercopa de España: 1997

Schalke 04 - UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2003, 2004

7= Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United, €4.8m per annum)

Born: 31st December 1941 (age 70).
Place of birth: Glasgow, Scotland).
Previous clubs managed: East Stirlingshire, St. Mirren, Aberdeen, Scotland.
Major club honours won as a manager:
St. Mirren - Scottish First Division (1): 1976–77

Aberdeen - Scottish Premier Division (3): 1979–80, 1983–84, 1984–85, Scottish Cup (4): 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, Scottish League Cup (1): 1985–86, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1982–83, UEFA Super Cup (1): 1983

Manchester United - Premier League (12): 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11, FA Cup (5): 1989–90, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04, League Cup (4): 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, UEFA Champions League (2): 1998–99, 2007–08, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1990–91, UEFA Super Cup (1): 1991, Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999, FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2008

7= Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool, €4.8m per annum)

Born: 4th March 1951 (age 61).
Place of birth: Glasgow, Scotland.
Previous clubs managed: Liverpool (twice), Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Celtic.
Major club honours won as a manager:
Liverpool - Football League First Division (3): 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90, FA Cup (2): 1985–86, 1988–89, Football League Cup (1): 2011–12

Blackburn Rovers - FA Premier League (1): 1994–95, Football League Second Division Play Off Winners (1): 1991–92

Celtic - Scottish League Cup (1): 1999–2000

9= Arsene Wenger (Arsenal, €4.7m per annum)

Born: 22nd October 1949 (age 62.)
Place of birth: Strasbourg, France.
Previous clubs managed: Nancy-Lorraine, Monaco, Nagoya Grampus Eight.
Major club honours won as a manager:
Monaco - French Ligue 1 (1): 1987–88, Coupe de France (1): 1990–91

Nagoya Grampus Eight - Emperor's Cup (1): 1995, J-League Super Cup (1): 1996

Arsenal - FA Premier League (3): 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04, FA Cup (4): 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05

9= Harry Redknapp (Tottenham, €4.7m per annum)

Born: 2nd March 1947 (age 65).
Place of birth: Poplar, London, England.
Previous clubs managed: Bournemouth, West Ham United, Portsmouth (twice), Southampton.
Major club honours won as a manager:
Bournemouth - Football League Division Three: 1986–87, Football League Trophy: 1983–84

West Ham United - UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1999

Portsmouth - Football League Division One: 2002–03, FA Cup: 2007-08

The next 20 highest paid managers are as follows:

11= Luiz Felipe Scolari (Palmeiras, €3.6m p.a)
11= David Moyes (Everton, €3.6m p.a)
11= Mark Hughes (QPR, €3.6m p.a)
11= Martin O’Neill (Sunderland, €3.6m pa)
15= Diego Maradona (Al-Wasl, €3.5m p.a)
15= Manuel Pellegrini (Malaga, €3.5m p.a)
17. Luciano Spalletti (Zenit St Petersburg, €3.0m p.a)
18= Muricy Ramalho (Santos, €2.6m p.a)
18= Ottmar Hitzfeld (Switzerland, €2.6m p.a)
20= Alex McLeish (Aston Villa, €2.4m p.a)
20= Joachim Low (Germany, €2.4m p.a)
22= Vicente del Bosque (Spain, €2.1m p.a)
22= Abel Braga (Fluminese, €2.1m p.a)
22= Massimiliano Allegri (AC Milan, €2.1m p.a)
22= Jurgen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund, €2.1m p.a)
26= Dorival Junior (Internacional, €1.9m p.a)
26= Tite (Corinthians, €1.9m pa)
28. Claudio Ranieri (Inter, €1.8m p.a)
29. Mano Menezes (Brazil, €1.7m p.a)
30. Antonio Conte (Juventus, €1.6m p.a)

(Source: Futebol Finance - all salaries quoted are in Euros)

Sunday, April 01, 2012