MANCHESTER, April 25 – Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata longs for the good old days when football was about passion without any business interests involved.
The 27-year-old shares the sentiment of fans who have voiced their displeasure at how money has changed the game they love, adding he would happily take a pay cut if it meant there was less business interests involved in the sport.
“I can understand what [the fans] are referencing. In the business of football, it seems the owners are more important than the supporters,” Mata told Salvados.
“It is nothing like the football of old, where there was not such a media involvement, or people with so many vested interests.
“I don’t enjoy the business side of football. I love the game, I love training and competing.
“I’d happily take a pay cut if there was less business involvement in the sport.
“My first professional contract was at Real Madrid Castilla. I was 18-years-old and I think I earned something like 90,000 euros a year,” he said.
“Football is very well remunerated at this level. It’s like we live in a bubble. With respect 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 an obscene 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.
“It scares me sometimes to think about just how protected I am. The smallest problem and someone will come and fix it for me. That’s one of the aspects in which we don’t live a normal life.”