This article has been written by Oishika Banerji of Amity Law School, Kolkata. This article discusses about Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with Juventus, its background, clauses, outcome, the binding nature, etc.
It has been published by Rachit Garg.
Cristiano Ronaldo signed a four-year contract with Juventus when he joined Bianconeri in the summer of 2018. That contract will expire at the end of the 2021-2022 season, so Ronaldo has already entered the final year of his contract. So, if Juve tried to sell the superstar, they would probably not get a lot of money in return. Juventus is rumoured to be attempting to persuade Ronaldo to sign a new contract. Ronaldo currently earns around 31 million euros per year. He is by far the highest-paid player on the team, with no one else earning more than ten million euros per season. His cost is sometimes cited as a cause for Juve’s inability to make enhancements elsewhere, but they have paid a lot of other expensive wages to players who don’t even come close to Ronaldo’s contributions throughout the years. This article explores the contract between the two aforementioned parties and the surrounding aspects associated with it.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus : the relation
Before we delve into Ronaldo’s contract with Juventus, and other related aspects, it is necessary for the readers to be familiar with the relationship that Ronaldo had been sharing with the well-known club, Juventus. His contribution to the club, inclusive of success and defeats, has had a tremendous influence on his fans and football lovers as a whole. Irrespective of the fact that Ronaldo doesn’t continue to play under this club currently, the three consecutive years he had been with it must be made known to the readers of this article.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored a lot of goals in his two seasons with Juventus, and he continues to defy time as he crushes defenders at the age of 35 showing no signs of slowing down. While Ronaldo has continued to score goals and impress supporters, he has failed to cement his move to Juventus as a resounding success. Of course, 42 Serie A goals in two seasons is a figure for which practically any player would give anything, but, Ronaldo arrived in Turin with higher expectations and loftier aspirations. The anticipation that Ronaldo will end Juventus’ Champions League drought was foremost among them.
Ronaldo scored 21 goals in 30 Serie A matches, his lowest scoring season in almost fifteen years. Juventus fans never saw the real Ronaldo beyond his heroics against Atletico Madrid in the second leg. The 35-year-old had a dismal start to the season, scoring just four goals in ten appearances. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was subbed off in successive games against Lokomotiv Moscow and Milan for the first time since joining Juve. Ronaldo was later diagnosed with a hamstring injury, according to reports. Just as many people were beginning to distrust Ronaldo, the Portuguese international stepped up to the plate. His return from the international break in December proved to be a watershed moment in his Juventus career.
After netting his fifth goal of the season against Sassuolo, the 35-year-old embarked on a scoring spree, equaling Gabriel Batistuta’s record of 11 straight league goals. The former Real Madrid striker has scored 21 goals this season, tying his tally from last year in nine fewer matches. Apart from his goal-scoring heroics, Ronaldo’s bounce in his stride appears to have returned. When you add in his growing rapport with Paulo Dybala, Juventus’ front line appears to be as deadly as ever.
Juventus is currently down a goal going into the second leg of its Champions League Round of 16 clashes against Lyon, but Ronaldo is a man on a mission. With last season’s failures on his mind, the Portuguese superstar will be eager to turn things around against the French outfit. Last season, Juventus had found themselves in a similar predicament when they returned home with a two-goal deficit against Atletico Madrid, but Ronaldo led by example, scoring a hat-trick in front of a sold-out Allianz Stadium. When the action continues, the 35-year-old will be expected to deliver heroics once more, as he and Juventus still have a chance to complete a truly remarkable triple.
Those concerned that Ronaldo’s time at Juventus will be a letdown should remember how his stint at Real Madrid started. Ronaldo’s time in Spain will be known for his European successes, but it’s easy to forget that it took Ronaldo four efforts in Madrid, including one Round of 16 elimination, to finally be named European champion. Time may not be on his side as it was in 2009, but if Ronaldo’s career has taught us anything, it’s that you can never rule him out.
Juventus’s investment in Ronaldo
Juventus paid EUR 116 million for Ronaldo in the summer of 2018, the largest transfer price ever paid by an Italian club, resulting in annual amortisation of EUR 29 million according to the 4-year contract agreement. According to reports in the media, Ronaldo earned a net compensation of EUR 31 million per year, equating to a gross salary expenditure of EUR 57 million for the club. This indicates that Juventus FC paid a total annual cost of EUR 86 million for Ronaldo alone, accounting for almost 22% of the club’s entire operational revenues at the time he arrived (EUR 400 million in 2017/18).
The total cost borne by Juventus FC until his departure, including the EUR 14 million loss recorded on his sale that summer, was calculated as the difference between the fixed fee paid by Manchester United FC (EUR 15 million) and the net book value of Ronaldo as of 30 June 2021 (EUR 29 million) was EUR 272 million over the past three seasons. The EUR 86 million in savings for the 2021/22 season, on the other hand, will provide crucial financial relief for the Turin club, which had a net loss of EUR 89.7 million in the previous financial year and is forecasting a loss of EUR 190 million in the coming season. Furthermore, Manchester United FC may enhance the fixed price paid to the player, up to a maximum of EUR 8 million, if particular performance criteria are met during the player’s work term.
Juventus management went “all-in” with Ronaldo’s historic entrance in order to close a gap with the European elite. At the time, the club’s operating revenues were EUR 400 million, well behind the EUR 650-750 million generated by Manchester United FC, Real Madrid FC, and FC Barcelona. While the club’s first season with CR7 showed good beginnings with a 25% increase, the pandemic had put the club’s objectives in jeopardy. This plan was principally supported by a EUR 175 million bond issued in February 2019 and a EUR 300 million capital raise completed in January 2020, right before the outbreak of COVID-19. The initial purpose of these liquidity injections was to boost the club’s global expansion, but they turned out to be a crucial lifeline against the pandemic’s losses, with a second EUR 400 million capital increase approved in recent weeks to cushion such losses.
Footballer contract : an insight
Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with Juventus has been a private affair. Put simply, the contract entered between the two parties was nothing but a footballer’s contract which generally involves players and the clubs they play for. One can understand Ronaldo’s contract with Juventus if one can relate to the concept of a footballer’s contract, the clauses included in it, the guiding principles governing these contracts and the possible consequences these contracts hold. The article aims to provide its readers with all such relevant information discussed hereafter.
Contracts with football players essentially give the club control of the player for the term of the deal. This means that unless another club makes a transfer offer, the player will be unable to leave the club. The offer is accepted by the selling club. If there arises refusal on the part of the player’s team, there remains nothing much on the player’s end to carry out, until the contract expires, which can allow the player to freely discuss terms with other interested clubs. In football, a transfer is a business transaction in which a player is moved from one club to another. If a player is under contract, the club that wants to obtain his or her services must pay compensation, sometimes known as a transfer fee. Unless a player is approaching their career end, they generally sign long-term contracts which can range between 4 to 5 years. This would in terms seem that the club has the authority or an upper hand over the players joining the same.
Footballer contracts are complicated and include a lot of moving parts. The footballer’s agent is the one who negotiates contracts and looks for the best financial agreement for the athlete. At the same time, the freedom and power to play should be maximised. Football clubs make certain that the player gets the money he or she wants. But it’s also important that the player’s contract has plenty of time left on it at all times, as this helps to keep their market value up.
Essentials of a footballer contract
- Salary: The salary, or wage, is the most important part of a player’s contract. This is commonly expressed as the weekly wage, rather than the annual wage, in footballer contracts. It is quite rare for footballers to accept pay decreases. Unless they are older and nearing the end of their careers, in which case they will join lower-level clubs. This means that if a player transfers to another club, his or her new salary will almost always be the same as or more than his or her prior salary. As a player’s contract nears its expiration, he or she will frequently re-sign with a greater wage to reflect market inflation. Increasing the player’s value, or simply persuading the player to stay with the club.
- Agents: Football agents represent footballers and negotiate their contracts, among other things. Agents typically represent a huge number of players at the same time since they represent a large number of clients. Agents who represent many of the game’s most elite and valued players are known as super agents. They represent players who are the game’s highest earnings. Agent fees, which are incorporated in player contracts, are one method by which agents make money. It’s normally a percentage of the player’s earnings, therefore the agent will try to get the best deal for his or her client. However, they also operate in their own best interests by attempting to increase their commission.
- Bonuses: Even while the earnings alone appear exorbitant in today’s game, footballer contracts almost always contain performance-related bonuses. A frequent bonus for an aggressive player, for example, is based on a goal-scoring target. Clean sheet bonuses are also employed for defenders and goalkeepers. Many contracts include competition bonuses, thus if a team wins a cup, league, or qualifies for the Champions League, players will typically receive a bonus if it is included in their contract. However, not all bonuses are based on performance, as practically every contract includes an ‘appearance fee.’ This is merely a bonus for each game the player participates in.
- Clauses: Footballer contracts include a number of conditions in addition to bonuses. Clauses are distinct in that they aren’t always about money, and they can contain pretty much anything that the athlete and the organisation agree on. The ‘Match Best Earner Clause’ is a typical clause seen in footballer contracts. A key player on a team, such as Messi or Ronaldo, may ask for this to be included in their contract. It essentially means that if a club adds a new player or renews an existing player’s contract at a higher wage than Ronaldo, Ronaldo’s salary will automatically rise to equal the top earnings. A yearly wage increase, a wage increase dependent on the number of games played, or a contract extension if a player plays a specified number of games in a season are all examples of common clauses that are included generally in a footballer’s contract.
Important clauses of a footballer’s contract
When a club and a player are negotiating a contract, stipulations in the contract are typical. They frequently include a minimum release amount or a condition saying that if the player is sold, he will receive a share of his future transfer fee. There are a plethora of terms in footballers’ contracts that affect anything from the player’s income to payments to one or more representation to prospective contract renewals, among other things. The number of games played, as well as the number of minutes played and the clubs for which the player plays, are all factors to be considered while drafting clauses for a footballer’s contract. Other factors that need to be taken into account while drafting a footballer’s contract include whether or not the player has started playing games/matches, whether his team has won all of the games in which he has played, whether the matches are part of a domestic, continental, or international tournament, etc.
These clauses in football players’ contracts also consider much more subjective and non-statistical factors, such as the image that each football player represents and how that image influences the club’s image. Weight, food, daily training discipline, off-field behaviour, and even fan mood are all relevant grounds to be considered. There are variables that affect the representatives’ retributions, as well as those that affect the clubs of origin, which are dependent on an unlimited number of parameters. With this type of condition in football player contracts, the complexity of follow-up for the finance department, as well as the financial department and sports management, increases. It is critical for these departments to visualise the club’s exact condition at all times and to create different scenarios that allow them to make the best decisions for each season while remaining compliant with Financial Fair Play. Here are a handful of the most common football clauses that practically every football player’s contract has.
The Release clause
- One of the easiest football contract clauses is the release clause. It specifies that if a club (offeror) makes an offer for a player or a coach that is equal to or greater than the stipulated value currently existing in the football industry, the club to whom the offer (offeree) has been made must take it. A release clause is a predetermined sum that a buying club can pay to a selling club to contractually obligate them to offload a player or coach.
- The fee is fixed at the time the contract is signed, but it can be changed later with the approval of both the club and the player/coach. The least amount of money you are ready to take for that player is referred to as a release clause, also known as a buyout clause. However, they are usually relatively large sums, designed to deter other teams. It’s also a way for a player to go on if a big club offers him a contract.
- If a rival makes a bid that matches the player’s release clause, the player’s club must accept it immediately and give the player permission to begin negotiations with the interested party. It has been the usual practice in Spain to include large release clauses in the contracts of famous players. Lionel Messi is claimed to have a €250 million buyout clause, while Cristiano Ronaldo is said to have had a €1 billion buyout clause during his tenure at Real Madrid.
- The goal of a release clause is to minimise contract parties’ risk assumptions. This safeguard, on the other hand, usually applies to one side and not the other. A club is contractually obligated to accept the sum given if an automatic release amount is triggered. If the club that has the player’s registration refuses to release him, the two clubs will almost certainly engage in an arbitration process to determine the validity of the release clause.
- In the Premier League, release clauses can be used, but only with the consent of both players and clubs. However, because British law currently prohibits players from buying themselves out of contracts, teams are wary of including them in transactions.
- The buy-back clause is another often used clause in football contracts. The selling club can pay a set amount if they want to bring the player back at a later date. This clause is not as straightforward as it appears. They might be incredibly complicated at times, but they can also be very simple. To begin, let’s define the buyback clause in layman’s terms. It’s a clause in a contract that offers the property seller the first opportunity to repurchase the property if specific circumstances are met.
- When the selling club believes the player has the potential to be worth more in the future, this type of football contract clause is used. This allows them to repurchase the player at a lower price. They may do so to bolster their own squad, or they may do so with the intention of immediately selling the player for a profit.
- A buy-back clause in most cases, automatically initiates the player’s transfer if certain contractual requirements are met. In actuality, if the condition is intended to be an automatic trigger and is properly structured, the selling club will have no means of declining the buy-back offer. For example, ‘A’ sells a house to ‘B’ and includes a buy-back clause in the contract. Now, if ‘B’ wants to sell the house to say ‘C,’ he has to ask ‘A’ first. ‘A’ gets to choose whether or not he wants to buy back his house first. If ‘A’ wishes to purchase the house back, he will be required to pay a fee to ‘B’ as specified in the contract. If ‘A’ refuses, ‘B’ is free to sell the house to ‘C’ or anybody else for a price agreed upon by both parties. This is how the buy-back clause functions.
- The major goal of including a buy-back clause in transfer agreements is to provide the selling club with the assurance that they will be able to repurchase a player if he performs well in the future. Before a player can transfer, the buyback clause must be agreed upon. Depending on the contract, it may or may not be removed after a specified time period or set of criteria.
- The buy-back clause has recently been utilised to get around European Financial Fair Play regulations. This is accomplished by selling a player for a high price (typically overvalued) with a contract that includes a buy-back clause. As a result, the selling club receives a large amount of “new” incoming transfer money but is obligated to buy the player back a few years later.
Percentage of Next Sale clause
- When selling a younger player, teams frequently employ football contract terms to lock in a share of the next sale. When the player makes their next move, they are entitled to a portion of the player’s next transfer fee. It’s a good clause to include in the contracts of young players who might or might not reach their full potential in the game. Under the rules of FIFA, five percent of any player transfer fee is to be automatically deducted from the total amount for the specific footballing league.
- The amount to be paid is determined by the percentage figure specified in the player’s new club’s contract. The percentage is determined by estimating the player’s present and long-term potential. The number must be agreed upon by the two teams discussing the agreement, and there is usually a considerable opportunity for negotiation. For example, in order to save money in the short term, the club buying the player may offer the club selling the player a larger sell-on clause in exchange for a lower transfer fee.
- As part of the player’s contract, a sell-on provision must be included. Managers and sporting directors frequently put a clause like this in the contracts of their most promising young players these days. Negotiating a larger sell-on percentage does, however, carry some risk. If the player develops into an exceptional player and leaves for a team of greater calibre, the majority of the transfer revenues will go to the club that sold him.
- The clause could be agreed to expire after a certain period of time. For example, the length of the player’s first contract with his new club after which it will no longer be in effect.
- If the player becomes world-class and moves for a team of better calibre, the clause’s move may backfire because the majority of the revenues obtained during the transfer will go to the club selling him. There have been a few cases where clubs have sold players without including a sell-on clause and have come to regret it. During Gareth Bale’s world-record, £86 million sale from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid, Southampton was the losing team, missing out on a potential £20 million.
Why do players leave their clubs : monopolising the power in football
The origins of the transfer system are directly related to the origins of football. In 1863, a small group of English clubs created the Football Association (FA), which still exists today, and began establishing formal rules for the sport. This structure was created to prevent wealthy teams from monopolising the league’s top talent. When a player’s contract ended under this system, the club had complete control over the option period. The player’s option contract could be as long as their original deal. Other teams were able to sign players from their current club under this method as long as they reimbursed the club for the remaining worth of the contract. This clause effectively obliterated this event. While this system severely limited a player’s ability to freely move within the market, it allowed smaller clubs to keep their great players and prevented larger, wealthier clubs from snatching up the best talent and damaging the league’s competitive dynamic.
The difference in the competition widens as player earnings rises. The enormous sums of money that teams must now spend to stay competitive has resulted in a small group of teams dominating each year. As players become more expensive, the gap widens. The massive flood of foreign investors and billionaire owners has fostered an ever-increasing “arms race.” These affluent benefactors have allowed their individual teams to spend far above their means, thus jeopardising the financial security of their respective clubs. There has been a drive-in recent years to curb these excessive spending practices and force teams to budget responsibly. The possible reasons as to why players leave their clubs are provided hereunder:
- They have progressed as players and want to compete for titles, so they leave their current club to join a larger one.
- If the club isn’t paying them enough, it’s for financial reasons they leave the club.
- Everyone aspires to play for a prestigious club, therefore when the opportunity occurs, the majority of players accept it.
- At their present club, the management is uninterested in them, and they are benched in critical games. As a result, they decide to join a club that will provide them with playing opportunities.
The most serious contractual issue arises when a player is approached by a larger club, or when the player is made aware of the interest by an agent or the media. Players want to improve themselves, but the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) urges them to always keep their contracts because clubs are expected to do the same. When a player accepts a four-year deal, there is no assurance that they will stay with the team for the entire period. The four years are more for the benefit of the club, who will be guaranteed money from another team, than for the player, who will invariably move on within those four years. Thus a reader will wonder what relevance does the signing of a contract hold in football. Let us check it out in the passage below.
What’s the point of signing a contract
The player receives a large signing-on fee, and the team is squandering its resources on a player who is unlikely to stay with them for long. Then another club shows up, pays the player three times as much as the first, and takes them from the initial club. However, despite the notion that money can buy everything, replacing a player is tough. Even money can’t replace the hours of work that managers and coaches put in with the player, their understanding of the domestic game, and the fact that they were settled.
Further, players generally place a premium on consistency. Many things can go wrong in football, from injuries to a coach who doesn’t like you or a teammate who is in better shape than you. A long-term contract contains both negative and beneficial aspects. If something goes wrong, you will still be paid your full wage until the contract expires. And, because a sportsman’s career is limited, every amount counts. Thus signing a contract in football acts as a security for the player in the long run. Along with this, it will be correct to point out that any athletes who sign such long-term contracts have a lot of incentives or have requested that their agent include a release clause or both. Clubs frequently comply with such demands if it means securing a key player on a long-term contract, effectively quieting/resolving both the fans’ and the players’ concerns.
Why waste all that money and just not let the player play on a rolling contract
That appears to be what the insane world of football has devolved into. It’s a place where there’s no respect, where there’s no commitment. Players come and go, making promises and leaving right before your eyes, and you feel as if you have been shot in the kneecap and have no means of recovering.
All about the Webster clause
After taking the lead in the most major football freedom-of-contract case in more than a decade, Scotland’s Andy Webster has joined the ranks of Jean-Marc Bosman. The Court of Arbitration for Sport made a significant judgement, effectively stating that no player’s contract can be extended beyond three years. After the age of 28, players can join clubs or renew their contracts for a period of two years. Webster’s test case arose when he left Heart of Midlothian in May 2006, having completed three years of a four-year deal with the Scottish club. As a result, he became the first player to challenge Fifa’s transfer laws under Article 17.
The Webster clause is currently in effect for players over the age of 28 who have two years left on their contract. However, Arsenal’s manager, Arsene Wenger believes that all of this will result in anarchy for all of the clubs very soon. He had remarked that “at the moment, it’s either three or two years (the Webster Clause), but believe me, someone will question that shortly and ask why at 28 years old and not, say, 27. Then there’ll be the question of why it took two years instead of one. The transfer system is no longer functional once you reach that point. You’d put together a team for a year, and then you’d be in huge danger.”
Why did Ronaldo leave Juventus
Juventus is the favourite to win the Italian league title in the upcoming season, and the club is also expected to make a strong showing in the UEFA Champions League. So, why would Ronaldo quit one of Europe’s most illustrious clubs? Although Ronaldo has excelled both on and off the field since joining Juventus, his departure benefits both the player and the club. Despite having great talent, Juventus is clearly not on the same level as Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, or Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League battle. Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times, and if he wins two more, he will have won the most European club trophies by any player in history. He already has the most goals scored by any player in the competition’s history, with 134 goals and counting. Ronaldo is passionate about his brand and legacy, and he aspires to be remembered as the best player of all time. He still has a chance to control the narrative about how he will be remembered if he can spend the next two or three seasons with a side that can help him win the big title and outperform Messi and PSG. At Juventus, it was not going to happen.
The Juventus perspective
Ronaldo is a goal-scoring machine who led Serie A in goals last season (29 goals). Juventus won all three domestic titles during his stay at the club, with his 101 goals in 134 games, the fastest player to 100 goals in club history. However, the Turin-based club did not spend $120 million on Ronaldo in 2018 in order to win in Italy. The Bianconeri were hopeful that Ronaldo would help them go over the hump and win the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1996. It hasn’t occurred, three new managers in three seasons haven’t helped and Juventus has experienced shock knockout round exits in each of his three seasons, never making it to the semifinals. Ronaldo was said to have taken the Round of 16 loss to Porto in March particularly hard, and now he is on his way out less than six months later.
The purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018 undoubtedly helped raise the Juventus brand. The club now has a stronger international reputation, treble the number of social followers, and has been able to utilise Ronaldo for considerable income and partnership growth. However, the pandemic has altered the club’s financial future, and on the pitch, Juventus is resetting and becoming younger. Ronaldo’s transfer was timed perfectly across the board.
The present status of the story
- Since Euro 2021, there have been early hints that a summer transfer is a definite possibility. There were photographs of moving trucks hauling Ronaldo’s automobiles away from his home in Turin, and there was also an Instagram post that felt like a farewell to Italy and Juve fans at that time.
- As the summer progressed, additional speculations of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain showing interest appeared, depending on how the dominoes fell with the prospective signing of teenage French star Kylian Mbappe. Ronaldo’s enraged Instagram post in response to all the transfer rumours omitted to emphasise his resolve to stay with Juventus for his final season. However, on the day of Juventus’ first Italian Serie A encounter of the new season, the club’s management and head coach stated that Ronaldo would not be leaving, seemingly putting an end to the saga. Ronaldo had informed Juve head coach Allegri that he was staying. Then, as Allegri put it, “the transfer market happened. Things have changed, and we must accept that.” The most common explanation for the change was Manchester City’s failure to sign No. 1 forward Harry Kane, who chose to stay at Tottenham Hotspur that summer. Man City was connected with Ronaldo in an apparent attempt to fill Kane’s position as a centre forward. Last season, Pep Guardiola’s reigning English champions sometimes functioned without a genuine centre striker, with a variety of forwards filling the role and midfielders also taking up the goal-scoring slack.
- The Red Devils were there, paying $33 million to acquire Ronaldo to a group that already included Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, and youngster Mason Greenwood. The $33 million transfer fee would please Juventus, who were apparently looking for a $35 million fee to avoid losing money on the Ronaldo deal. It’s not a bad deal for the Italians for a soon-to-be 37-year-old Ronaldo, who was in the final year of his contract. In addition, Juventus will be free of his large contract.
- It’s a move that could bring Ronaldo’s European career to a close. Manchester United also competed in the UEFA Champions League in the 2021-2022 season, in a group with Villarreal, Atalanta, and BSC Young Boys. The Red Devils had a strong chance to win the Champions League for the first time since 2008, when Ronaldo was still playing for them. Their most recent Champions League final was in May 2009, during Cristiano Ronaldo’s final season with Manchester United before joining Real Madrid.
- Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United amid much fanfare at the end of last season, pledging to restore the Premier League giants to their old glory, but his influence is fading six months later as his club’s stock sinks. After making a fairytale homecoming to the club where he won eight major titles from 2003 to 2009, everything seemed to be going so well for the Portuguese veteran. When he doesn’t score, the Champions League’s all-time leading goalscorer doesn’t provide much more, given his unwillingness to press opponents under a manager known for his predilection for high-intensity high-up-the-pitch defending. According to reports in the British press, Ronaldo may decide to leave at the end of the season, one year into his two-year contract. An early departure would be disastrous for the club’s marketing department, but given recent performances on the pitch, giving up on trying to get Ronaldo to produce the same level of performance he did as a young, hungry winger 15 years ago may be the most sensible approach for all parties involved.
Who has the power in world football transfers
In many ways, football is a world and a law unto itself, and no aspect of the game exemplifies this more than the murky world of player transfers. Every signing a team makes, particularly a top-flight squad in a well-established footballing country, is scrutinised. Every rumour reported in the media is rehashed ad nauseum by supporters on social media, forums, and everywhere else online while selling a player from the first team is reduced to being a microcosm of a club’s ambition, or lack thereof. Transfers are notoriously difficult to negotiate, with four parties with vested interests all trying to achieve the best deal for themselves; the selling club, the buying club, the player involved, and, in most cases, agents of the players.
- Clubs, one would imagine, have a say in how each transaction is structured. After all, they own the player’s registration and can simply refuse to sell them if they don’t agree with any offer. While this is valid in theory, in practice, clubs are frequently pressured or compelled to accept bids for players who do not match their full value.
- There are a variety of reasons for this, including player pressure or external forces relating to the player, but the club’s own economics is probably the most important.
- Is it possible for a League One club to keep a £1 million-rated player if a Championship club only offers £700,000? Or is a South American team keeping a highly-rated talent because a Portuguese team won’t sell him under the correct terms? The answer is frequently no. The immediate injection of cash is more crucial to a team’s day-to-day operations than waiting for the extra 20% that may never arrive.
- Of course, the selling club will try to negotiate a number of stipulations into the agreement that will benefit them if the player’s success increases. The buyer is more likely to agree with them because they won’t mind paying for a player who is delivering. Sell-on clauses also benefit the selling club at an undefined point in the future, when the player is transferred to a new team and the selling club receives a windfall percentage. The super-rich clubs, on the other hand, can afford to just say no.
- Consider the case of Carlos Tevez. Midway through the 2011-12 season, the Argentinian forward suddenly hung up his boots and quit Manchester City. Of course, he was fined repeatedly and was attempting to negotiate his way out of the club, but no team could match City’s exorbitant valuation of what was, at the time, an outstanding top-flight striker, so they chose to keep him and compel Tevez to finish his contract. With no other choice, the striker returned to the team and helped them win the title, as well as lasting for another full season after that before his recent transfer to Juventus, at a fraction of the money his club was asking 18 months earlier.
- Financial specifics on transactions are rarely disclosed, but it seems reasonable to assume that if Team X offers Y, a million pounds for a player, and the offer is accepted, Team Z will simply match it. The selling side may try to take advantage of this, but it is unlikely to have a significant impact on the player’s overall price. It’s possible that the selling club will be able to dictate conditions more favourably.
- The final decision on any individual transfer should be made by the athlete himself. While parties must agree on the financial components of a transfer, it is up to the player to determine whether or not to move. He may already desire to go, but he also has the option to reject. Nobody can force a player to sign a contract if he doesn’t want to sign, although the selling club can persuade him by telling him that if he remains, he won’t be part of the team.
- It is less entertaining for supporters to cope with a player who is actively pressing for a move. Take, for example, the case of Carlos Tevez, no supporter likes to hear that a famous striker has snoozed off midway through a crucial campaign to enjoy some sun and golf rather than giving it their all to their football game. Some players plainly put their hearts and souls into a club, while others openly acknowledge they play for the money rather than the love of the game while stating that this does not make them any less professional.
- Players can have their own provisions placed into contracts. If a Champions League club, for example, wants to sign a player, he might be free to leave for a certain fee. It’s possible that if he plays a particular amount of games, he will get an extra season on his contract, or that if the team gets relegated, he will be freed from his contract entirely. Of course, athletes aren’t always the ones who openly approach a club with their requests. Some people may lack confidence when it comes to statistics, while others may have no idea what is intended to be included in a contract. The agent, of course, enters the picture.
- In today’s world, what does an agent do? Are they acquaintances or businessmen? When reading a top player’s autobiography, the lines appear to be blurred at times. The main responsibility appears to be negotiating player contracts, but some go above and beyond. The power that certain agents appear to have over players, from securing commercial sponsorships to looking after the property and assisting with anything from personal purchases to informing the player when he should quit the team, borders on the terrifying.
- There are agents who are more well-known than others and appear to be significantly more effective at closing large deals for large sums of money, just as there are in other fields of life. While Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola are referenced in almost every national publication every week while the transfer windows are open, Pini Zahavi is perhaps more well-known than half of Israel’s national team.
- Every year, reports emerge of a player intentionally seeking new representation from specific agencies in order to complete a transfer to a specific club, moves that enable the new agents to earn thousands, if not millions, of pounds from a single transaction.
- There is a school of thought that agents should represent clubs rather than players in order to ensure that all members of a team are treated equally. It is an intriguing concept, but one that the present agents, as well as the players, would most likely reject. Even if a player enjoys a team, he wants to know that he is being compensated fairly, and he trusts his agent to negotiate on his behalf. Having a club employee tell the player what he is worth is unlikely to pique the player’s interest.
- In today’s football transfers, the agency definitely plays a part, but it’s the acts and ethics of a select few that appear to cause the most controversy. Rumours planted with the intent of generating interest or pressuring a club to sell or offer greater wages are now frequent, though not always pleasant.
Possible complications involved
- The common set of complications ranges from ownership by a third party, to that of co-ownerships of Italian sports teams, followed by loans with buy-back options, sales with buy-back options, part exchanges, and who knows what else. When players arrive in the United Kingdom, there are additional work permits to consider, and the processes that teams must follow to obtain one are not always apparent.
- Overall, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to processing transfers. The lack of consistency and clarity makes things extremely unpleasant for everyone involved, especially supporters, who wait days upon days, in the modern-day of instant technology, hoping to see “confirmed” beneath the names of players their team has been linked to for weeks. Each of the three parties (players, agents, and clubs) has a role to perform and a certain level of influence in each specific transfer.
- The length of a contract is a tricky issue to consider; in the age of Bosman transfers, three years left on a deal is an eternity, two a balancing act between taking the big money and letting the contract run down, and one year remaining almost certainly equals a massive reduction in asking price. At that time, the power balance appears to shift completely in favour of the athlete, however, details like his age and position will all play a role. The next two months will show just how complicated transfer agreements can be in world football, with deals dragging on for days or weeks before coming to a satisfactory end.
- The squad lists at the end of the window are all that matters to supporters. Each agreement necessitates a large number of phone calls, meetings, and smart negotiations on the part of clubs, players, and agents alike. It’s a delicate balancing act that moves from window to window with each potential transfer, and it’s not going away any time soon.
Do footballers lose motivation after signing long-term contracts
Utility maximising clubs would be more aggressive in their pursuit of player talent than profit maximising clubs, and this buildup of player talent by larger teams could need to be curbed through income redistribution. The pressures to acquire more and better players in order to outperform rival teams on the football field leads to a requirement for teams to practice good contract management in a setting of rising revenues and high rewards.
To some extent, the belief that a player’s contribution diminishes once the ink on a new contract has dried is based on the notion that performance peaks before the extension of a contract. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is an example of this discussion. His three-year contract, which he signed in September 2020, has been criticised because he failed to maintain the phenomenally high standards he had set during the 2019-20 season, when he scored 29 goals in 44 games, including match-winning contributions in both the FA Cup semi-final and final. The evidence for a “contract year,” in which a player’s performance improves during the final year of a contract, is mixed. According to a research on 275 players who spent two straight seasons in Serie A between 2012 and 2014, before and after signing a contract, players fared better in the last year of their contracts.
When looking at indicators like shooting and passing accuracy, successful tackles, and minutes played per match, a 2019 report found little evidence of a clear relationship between contract length and performance when looking at 249 Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1 players between 2008 and 2015. Given the complexity of the subject matter, the polarity of viewpoints is somewhat unsurprising. According to the authors of “Analysis of elite soccer players’ performance before and after signing a new contract,” “individual performances could be influenced by collective strategies and tactics, potentially masking small effects that signing a new contract might have on observable individual performance indicators.”
One more instance we can consider in this regard is when James Ward-Prowse spoke with Southampton’s official website after signing a new five-year contract in August 2021 about how the Saints “sat down and told me their admiration for me and the way they want me to lead the squad.” The phrase demonstrates how a long-term contract can push a player to grow by recognising expertise. Ward-Prowse has been in his best form since his contract was extended in the summer, scoring six goals in 19 appearances. Jones had explained that “anecdotally, there are many people in the game who enhance their performance in the final year of their deal before dropping down after they get that contract, however, the requirement to offer hefty contracts is probably beneficial for the game as a whole because it favourably enhances a specific individual’s drive-in acknowledgment of their expertise.”
What happened in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo said his goodbyes to Juventus before returning to Old Trafford, but he gave no reason for leaving the Italian club, where he had spent three years. Khabib Nurmagomedov, a former UFC fighter and close friend of Ronaldo, claims that the Portuguese striker left Juventus because he was bored. While conversing with Sport 24, Khabib had provided a solid reason for Ronaldo’s exit from Juventus. “I don’t want to make our private conversation public. He explained that he was bored in Italy and that he wanted to relocate to England. I’m not a fan of Italian football either, but I’m not going to go to the English Premier League. Any squad can put on a show there”, said he.
It is also necessary to mention that Ronaldo was dissatisfied with the team’s overall performance and demanded that the board restructure the roster and assemble a formidable lineup. This, however, was not possible due to the club’s deteriorating financial circumstances following the pandemic. Ronaldo was unsure about Juventus’ plans, and losing the Serie A title in 2020-21 was the final straw for him. The Juventus director also addressed the issues surrounding Paulo Dybala’s contract renewal, stating that they had achieved an agreement but that circumstances had changed.
Thus considering the two reasons that have been put forth by media reports, it can be concluded that Ronaldo might have left the Juventus club because of a lack of motivation resulting from a long-term contract that he had signed with the club, which is a common sight with several football players. Although this is a general assumption, it is difficult to put up reasons with evidence behind Ronaldo’s exit as the same has been covered under books throughout the entire episode of Ronaldo’s relation with Juventus and he leaving the same.
There have been several speculations about Ronaldo’s exit from Juventus, he lost motivation over the long-term contract he had entered with the well-known club, he demanded resources that were restricted by the club, and the list continues. What needs to be taken from this discussion is that the €30m-a-year contract that the globally recognised player had entered into with Juventus came to an end owing to the Portugal international’s repeated frustration at the end of the season. As have been discussed above, clubs, players and agents, all three parties to a footballer’s contract have a significant role to play in fulfilment of the contract. Ups and downs among these parties are often happening but the same should not be responsible for spinning the game at the end of the day. Thus in this regard, a player’s decision to exit a club must be respected and focus should be placed on the player’s future games and the club’s continuing performance, instead of the detriments faced by both as a consequence of the player’s decision.
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