Football

Footballers must not be blasted for chasing the money

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Sir Alex Ferguson admitted in his autobiography to being delighted at being given a pay rise by former Manchester United chief executive David Gill.

If the longest-serving manager in Manchester United's history can admit to thinking about money, then why does 16-year-old Martin Odegaard, who is reportedly earning £40,000-per-week - a figure which, according to the Daily Mail, could double if he collects all his bonuses - claim that this had nothing to do with his decision to join Real Madrid?

By all means, the presence of Zinedine Zidane and his Real Madrid "Castilla" side at the club must have played a part in Odegaard's move; but can he seriously claim that had Liverpool - whom he previously stated that he dreamed of playing for - offered him quadruple what the Bernabeu club did, his head would not have been turned?

Animosity towards Ashley Cole

AS Roma left-back Ashley Cole is one player who has admitted to being swayed by money when making a career decision. 

His controversial move to Chelsea on a £90,000-per-week contract followed a £55,000-per-week offer from Arsenal that left him "trembling with anger".

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Having remained remarkably fit well into his 30's, there is nobody who can accuse Cole of being a lazy professional.

However, as Cole explained in his autobiography My Defence, he felt under-appreciated at not being given the same wage as his colleagues at Arsenal. His head was thus turned when Chelsea came calling.

As would the heads of most of the people who criticise him if they endured a similar situation in their professional lives

Assou-Ekotto's admission

Another left-back - Tottenham Hotspur's Benoit Assou-Ekotto - has admitted to viewing football as "just a job".

Whilst Assou-Ekotto received widespread criticism for his views, those who understand what he described as "the hypocrisy of football" can only admire his honesty.

The Cameroonian is one of the most successful African defenders of his generation and an upstanding member of his community who has donated to the London Evening Standard's Dispossessed Fund.

It is nobody's business why Assou-Ekotto plays football as long as he works hard for his money and spends it wisely.

Society's scapegoats

In a world full of corrupt businessmen and politicians, it is difficult to understand why many average working men feel so much resentment towards professional footballers who make professional moves.

Cole and Assou-Ekotto should not be vilified for their honesty regarding their wages and, in a fair society, Odegaard would not feel the need to conceal his desire for money from the press.

Footballers - like anyone else - have lives to live and often families to support. They are perfectly entitled to chase money as long as they show their value on the pitch.

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Topics:
Football
Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Ashley Cole

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