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Football ‘greed’ not always the players fault

I think it’s fair to say that money talks in football, but are players sometimes wrongly labelled as ‘greedy’ or ‘mercenaries’?

Wesley Sneijder, while at Inter Milan was a prime example.  The Dutchman,  who at the peak of his powers was the driving force behind Inter’s Champions League triumph of 2010 and continued this fine form later that summer to lead his national team to the World Cup final in South Africa, narrowly losing out to arguably the greatest international team of all time in Spain. 

Until his move to Galatasary this week, Sneijder spent this season sat with two years remaining on a reported £6.3m 5 year contract which was signed upon the players return from the 2010 World Cup.  Inter had earlier this season requested that the player take a wage cut as they look to trim their wage bill.  Upon Sneijder’s refusal to this cut, he is was left out in the cold at the San Siro, seemingly being left to rot.  However I would argue that Sneijder should not be labelled as greedy for firstly not agreeing to a wage cut. 

A contract is a two way agreement between both employer and employee, and I fail to believe that any representative from Inter Milan was not present when Sneijder signed his bumper 5 year deal. The club would not expect the player to break the terms of the contract, therefore the player should expect the club to honour their end of the deal as well.

The ongoing situation at Stamford Bridge involving Frank Lampard is an example of how contracts should be honoured, admittedly not something that happens to often in the modern game.  This summer Lampard looks set to end a 13 year association with Chelsea when his contract expires.  Chelsea committed to a five year contract when they persuaded Lampard to sign back in 2008 and despite deeming the player surplus to requirements beyond this season, look set the honour their commitment in full. In return, Lampard has more than delivered on the faith and investment shown by the Chelsea hierarchy. 

Lampard has scored over 80 goals in 215 appearances to date in the duration of his current contract alone and is well worth the handsome weekly salary that Chelsea provide. When he departs the bridge this summer, Frank Lampard will not know owe the Blues anything, nor will Chelsea will owe Frank Lampard anything in return. It looks set to simply be left as an exceptional long standing working relationship where both parties have delivered on their respective promises and will part ways amicably.

Of course there are many cases where footballers will come across as greedy, as I am sure Wesley Sneijder has to many fans. However, more often than not in these cases the reason the player in question is in such a position of personal wealth to be labelled ‘greedy’ is because somebody from their club has allowed it to happen. If your employer came to you with an offer of upwards of £100,000-a-week, you would take it, would you?

Aaron Sharp