Mata criticizes business of football, says players make “silly money”

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Juan Mata has criticized the game of football for becoming too commercial despite reaping the rewards.

Speaking on Spanish television, the Manchester United midfielder said he would take a pay cut to eliminate the business side of the sport.

Of course, that’s easy to say when you make a reported $200,000 per week.

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Mata admitted that many footballers live in a bubble, separated from the real world as they rake in a “silly amount” of money for their play on the pitch.

I don’t enjoy the business side of football. I love the game. I love training and competing. I’d take a pay cut if there was less business involvement in the sport.

Football is very well remunerated at this level. It’s like we live in a bubble. Compared to the rest of society, we earn a ridiculous amount. It’s unfathomable.

With respect to the world of football, I earn a normal wage. But compared to 99.9 per cent of Spain and the rest of the world, I earn a silly amount.

I live in [a bubble]. Real life is the one my friends live. They’ve had to look for work, sign on to the dole and emigrate. That’s normal life now. My life as a footballer is not normal.

Mata was also critical of younger players who go out and spend their money on “extravagant clothes and fancy cars.” At 27-years-old and with ten years of professional experience, Mata said he sometimes has to have a word with a teammate to make sure they are handling themselves properly.

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Though he did not mention any names, Mata’s comments on younger players’ behavior could be viewed as a possible jab at Memphis Depay. Memphis joined Manchester United for a massive transfer fee last summer but has struggled to make an impact on the pitch with reports of his flashy lifestyle angering some at Old Trafford.