Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Economic Meltdown Be Damned

Sports Illustrated's annual look at the top earning athletes is usually a fun little read to check how the world's top stars rank (though it divides the list between US-born and international athletes). It's a little more disconcerting to look at the numbers this year in light of the global recession.

Anyway, here's the international list, which contains seven footballers: David Beckham (#1), Leo Messi (#4), Ronaldinho (#11), Cristiano Ronaldo (#12), Thierry Henry (#14), Kaka (#18), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (#20).

It will be interesting next year to see where the Ronaldo and Kaka numbers jump. Four of the players play on two teams in one league (Barca and Real) and if you count Beckham as moving to AC Milan, then that makes it six players concentrated on three teams, and the last player, Ibrahimovic, seems unsettled. Just highlights how the power and money rests in a very few hands, and why only a few teams have a realistic shot of winning the Premier League/La Liga/Serie A as well as the Champions League. With this type of spending/star power, when will we see the next Porto or Marseille or even Ajax return to the pinnacle of the sport? I'm not entirely sure, and this economic downturn appears to have widened the disparities between top and bottom rather than leveling the playing field.

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