Manchester United star Juan Mata has described his salary as "obscene" and "unfathomable" during an insider interview with Spanish tv programme Salvados. The former Chelsea star admits that footballers "live in a bubble" outside of the rest of the world, while claiming that he would be ready to take a pay cut if there was less involvement from business in the sport.
The Spanish international star moved from Stamford Bridge to Old Trafford in January 2014 in a deal worth £37m ($53.4m), with The Telegraph then claiming that the player more than doubled his £70,000-a-week Chelsea salary as part of the swap.
Mata admitted to Salvados: "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% of Spain and the rest of the world, I earn an obscene amount. The barometer we use (when we demand a pay rise) is comparing our salaries to those of our team-mates and what other players are earning elsewhere".
"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, like paying an invoice for the home electricity and someone will come and fix it for me. That's one of the aspects in which we don't live a normal life".
Questioned whether he would be ready to take a cut, the United star replied: "I don't enjoy the business side of football. I love the game. I love training and competing. I would take a pay cut if there was less business involvement in the sport."
"At this level we're very well paid and sometimes you get to thinking that there really isn't much of a difference between x and x+3".
Mata, who revealed that his first professional contract at Real Madrid Castilla – Los Blancos second team- worth €90.000 per year, claimed that he loves the sporting part of football but also relates to the people who "hate the modern game' due to high influence and activity of business involvement.
"The business side of football makes it seem as though the owners are now more important than the fans. It's not like the football of old; there wasn't as much press coverage before or as many interested parties looking for their cut," Mata said during an interview.
Yet, in the case of Mata's own business relations, the footballer revealed that his dad is also his agent and dealt with all negotiations relating to his son's career.
"My dad is my agent and always acts with my best interests at heart," the Spaniard said while admitting that he has been forced to give advice to some of his teammates, especially to the youngsters in order to help keep their feet on the ground.
"I've had team-mates who have gotten terrible advice. I've had to tell team-mates that they were receiving bad advice. Every player thinks he's Maradona when he joins a big club. That happens to all of us but then you start to notice it in the younger players. You see kids who think they're rock stars; wearing extravagant clothes and driving fancy cars... and sometimes you have to take them aside and have a word. As long as you can keep a cool head though and continue working as hard as before, which after all is what got you to where you are, than you'll be able to handle yourself".
"There are times when too much pressure is put on young players, which is wrong. They're not prepared properly for failure, and things don't always go to plan. They need to be taught that only a fortunate few can make it to the top. 99.9% of them won't make it that far".