As is the case with football in 2020, the business end of things often boils down to what Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are doing. Even, it turns out, when it comes to taking a salary cut to help alleviate the economic impact of Covid-19.
Last week, Italian side Juventus became the first Serie A club to agree a substantial pay cut. According to independent sports business site, Sporting Intelligence, the Turin-based side – until a few weeks ago happily closing in on its ninth consecutive league title – expects to save $100 million by reducing compensation between March to June, that's around 30 percent of its annual wage bill.
As for how that affects Ronaldo, well Forbes recently commented that the 30 percent cut the Italian sides were proposing could result in a loss around the $20 million mark. However, such is his earning power that it’s unlikely he would need to pay by installments for his brand-new Bugatti just yet. Even with the cut, the Portuguese striker remains on course to become only the third sportsman in history to break the $1 billion in a year mark. His worth with Nike and his own CR7 range meaning it still seems likely he’ll join Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather in that exclusive club.
Meanwhile in Spain, although the initial word out of Camp Nou was that the playing staff had a rejected a proposed 70 percent cut, Messi was quick to clarify things via his Instagram feed. Through a picture of his statement, the Argentinean explained that, not only were the payers willing to take the cut during the state of emergency, but that they would also make contributions to ensure that the rest of the staff at the club would continue to receive 100 percent of their salary.
According to Sports Intelligence, the Catalans have the highest paid squad in world football – averaging $12 million per man, per year. Just for context, Messi’s cut could yet result in a whopping $50 million loss in gross pay.
Elsewhere, teams have been hit hard already, and with the most recent UEFA studies stating that European clubs pay out 64 percent of their annual revenue in salaries alone, cuts across the board seem imminent.
The results have been wide-ranging, from squads including the likes of Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich and Erling Braut Håland at Borussia Dortmund taking cuts to help lower-paid employees, to the former Arsenal players, Alex Song and Johan Djourou allegedly being sacked from Swiss club, Sion, for refusing a cut that would see the club’s biggest earners take an 80 percent hit.
As the football world comes to terms with a season that may never be completed, it seems likely more clubs will roll-out a salary cut as time progresses.