Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata has delivered a damning verdict on football becoming too business-orientated and it is effecting younger players.
The Spaniard has conceded that he has grown uncomfortable with the way that the corporate side of the game has become so important, and believes that it is having a negative impact overall.
While there are the obvious benefits of increased money involved in football as well as the level of competitiveness and entertainment particularly at the big clubs in England, the former Chelsea star makes several valid points.
“The business side of football makes it seem as though the owners are now more important than the fans,” Mata said in a Spanish television interview, as reported by Sky Sports.
“Every player thinks he’s Diego Maradona when he joins a big club. That happens to all of us but then you notice it in the younger players.
“You see kids who think they’re rock stars; wearing extravagant clothes and driving flash cars… sometimes you have to take them aside and have a word. I don’t enjoy the business side of football. I love the game. I love training and competing.
“I’d take a pay cut if there was less business involvement in the sport.”
The 27-year-old went on to add that footballers “live in a bubble” compared to the rest of society given the money that they earn, with Mata himself rumoured to be on a deal worth £150,000 per week.
Naturally, the speed at which the money in football has increased and the levels involved make it a subject of great debate and anger for many on the outside looking in, particularly with players who earn ridiculous money and don’t necessarily prove that they deserve it on the pitch.
Nevertheless, the system and trends are unlikely to end or change any time soon, and that comes with both pros and cons with Mata’s concern about the younger generation certainly amongst the latter.
Whether it’s the contracts handed out or the lifestyle many become accustomed to before even becoming a top player, it will have a negative impact on countless individuals with several high-profile cases in the Premier League coming to light this season alone.