Apart from being one of the most successful football clubs in the world, there’s another reason why FC Barcelona players look so happy. According to the Sporting Intelligence website’s latest Global Sports Salary Survey, Barcelona spends more money on wages than any other club in the world and has become the first sports team in history to top £10 million (US$13.76 million) a year in average first-team pay.
The survey also found that the average basic first-team pay for the 2018-19 season at the La Liga giants is £10,454,259 (US$13,755,714 million) – a rise of a third for the Catalans since the 2017/18 season. It is the first time Barcelona has topped the survey since 2012, when the club’s average wage was half of the current sum.
La Liga rival Real Madrid is second, with its first-team players earning an average of £8.1 million (US$10.6 million) a year, while the next six spots are filled by NBA teams with the Oklahoma Thunder – last year’s table-toppers – third (£7.85 million/US$10.32 million).
Thunder, Golden State Warriors (£7.82 million/US$10.29 million) and Washington Wizards (£7.63 million/US$10.04 million) become the first American teams with average pay of more than US$10 million per player per year.
Manchester United (£6.5 million/US$8.6 million) is the highest English club in 10th, while Italian champions Juventus has risen from 32nd to ninth in the table after signing Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer with its bill at £6.72 million (US$8.85 million). French club Paris Saint-Germain has slipped from fifth in 2017 to 18th, with an average salary spend per player of £6.1 million ($8 million).
In its ninth year, the survey tracks pay in 349 teams across eight sports in 13 countries, sourcing directly or indirectly from unions, player associations, players, agents, leagues or club sources.
Barcelona’s wage rise from £6.6 million ($8.84 million) a year ago to over £10 million (US$13.76 million) can be attributed to Lionel Messi’s new contract, signed in November 2017, with his £50 million ($64.2 million) a year deal making him the best paid player in the club’s history.
Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti and Sergio Busquets also signed new contracts with the club, while the signings of Philippe Coutinho, Malcom, Arthur Melo and Arturo Vidal also added to the wage bill.
Of the survey’s top 20 teams, 12 are from the NBA and eight are from elite European football. The English Premier League remains the richest football league in the world, with first-team players earning £2.99 million ($3.9 million) a year on average, while the NBA remains the highest-paid league in the world with average salaries of £5.9 million ($7.8 million) per year this season.
Source: Aimee Lewis/CNN International
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