It’s easy to criticize someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, doing the job 90% of the world would dream of doing, dating a super model, getting paid huge amounts of money to do so (play football, not date) and then seemingly look ungrateful for it at times. People are people, whether they’re bankers, office workers or mega sport stars.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who doesn’t think he should be paid more for what he does. Even athletes who get paid tens of millions of dollars often think they should be earning more. They don’t think about what happens after their 10-15 year sports career, at best, is over. Most of them want to make the most amount of money possible in that short time span, and f&^% loyalty.
There’s also making the most of your brand. LeBron James recently spoke about being underpaid by the Miami Heat, but in the NBA, as in other capped-ruled sports, it’s a neccesity in order to be competitive, not to mention play along two others All-Star players like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
James knows he can make more money, or could have made more money signing somewhere else, and he’ll probably make more once the current deal runs out, but to when you do earn $40-50 million a year from all of the sources available, sometimes making $4-5 million more from basketball, knowing it might cost you a title, just isn’t worth it.
The whole contract saga with Cristiano Ronaldo was about being appreciated. Some people need that feedback from their co-workers, even if they do make €10.5 million a season. Knowing he’s “just” in the top 10 and not one of the top 5 highest paid footballers in the world tells Ronaldo he isn’t appreciated in the way he should be. Love from fans is nice; compliments from his teammates and managers is great. Getting something close to a 50% raise, with a contract offer that will keep him at Real Madrid till 2018 for €15 million a season is better than anything.
It’s easy to dismiss any sign of complaints from big stars like Ronaldo and others because they’re doing what most of us dream about – making money off their hobby. But besides being their passion, it’s also their job. When love and duty collide, it kinda corrupts the whole idea, to a different extent with each person. Ronaldo loves playing football, you can see it with every move he makes on the pitch; with every reaction. He cares, and in those 90 minutes, it’s not about the money he makes and the credit he gets. It’s about scoring goals and being the best, something he also falls short in when compared with a tiny man from Barcelona.
It’s hard to suggest Cristiano Ronaldo and others like him live ordinary lives, but it’s all relative anyway. When you feel you’re not being paid as much as you should, you think it sucks to be you, even if most of the world would trade you your spot in less than a second.