Like Harry Enfield’s obnoxious Loadsamoney waving wads of cash around in the Thatcherite ’80s, footballers – and FIFA officials – aren’t shy about letting the world know just how loaded they are...
By now you'll have probably seen BT Sport’s Champions League ad campaign (the Ox riding rodeo and Savage playing Fifa anyone?); a grotesque party where multi-millionaire footballers strut around in fancy suits, party with beautiful women and head balls into what look like champagne buckets.
Apparently it's just real life for some of this lot, though...
1) Ashley becomes ‘Cashley’
It’s hard to think of a more vulgar admission made by a footballer in an autobiography (and god knows there've been a few). When Ashley Cole was offered a £55,000-a-week salary at Arsenal in 2006, he dismissed the mind-boggling sum as a joke in his book, My Defence. By all accounts, the Gunners’ offer was so wide of the mark it nearly caused poor Ash to crash his car, as evidenced by this extract:
“'Ash! Are you listening?' said a virtually hyperventilating Jonathan [Barnett, Cole’s agent]. ‘I’m here in the office and [Arsenal chairman] David Dein is saying they aren’t going to give you £60k a week. They’ve agreed £55k and this is their best and final offer. Are you happy with that?’
“When I heard Jonathan repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road. ‘He is taking the piss, Jonathan!’ I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard.”
Neither could Cole’s potential readership, who unsurprisingly decided to give his book the swerve. Ash joined Chelsea that summer, where he scooped £90k. Fair enough?
2) Balotelli’s loose change
There’s a lot to like about the Italian striker’s childlike demeanour. His indifference to authority can be endearing (he once claimed Jose Mourinho needed to “learn manners and respect”), as are those occasional delusions of grandeur. When Balotelli said, “There is only one that is a little stronger than me: Messi,” after winning the Golden Boy in 2010 – a trophy given to the most impressive young player in Europe – it was hard not to admire his self-belief.
“Why have you got all this money?” asked an officer. “Because I’m rich,” Balotelli responded
The excess does border on the gaudy, however. In 2010, having signed for Manchester City, he crashed his not-so-cheap Audi R8 (they start at a cool £119,000, by the way) while driving to the club’s Carrington training ground. Police officers arriving at the scene decided to search him afterwards and discovered five grand stuffed into his back pocket.
“Why have you got all this money?” asked an officer. “Because I’m rich,” responded the Italian.
Well, yes, we suppose that makes sense.
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