Here's a trivia for you - Who is the highest paid football player? And your options are -
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Lionel Messi
- Gareth Bale
- None of the above
Most of you would have gone for either Ronaldo or Messi, simply because they are the best and probably deserve the best remuneration too! Your loyalties would have decided your answer. Anyway, the answer is Cristiano Ronaldo. Closely followed by Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale. However, this should not come as a surprise. But guess what, there's a string of players who are joining this group. And they all belong to one league! No, not the English Premier League.
One among them is Carlos Tevez! Who? You'd ask. No, I am kidding. If you follow Football, you would have heard of this strikers name. If you have been a Manchester United fan, a Manchester City fan, a Premier League fan, a Juventus fan, Italian League fan, or even a fan of Argentina, you know him. There's also Oscar, who's popular and highly criticized move from Chelsea showed how money-oriented footballers are over carving a career playing with the top team. I personally don't find anything wrong with Oscar's move. If you were in that situation where you are being offered more money (actually double or even more) for doing the same job with more exposure and opportunity to be a leader, would you decline? At least you would've give a thought. And even gone ahead!
But how did all this happen? Anyone knows about Chinese Super League? I initially thought the American, Chinese and the Indian Soccer Leagues were for players who crossed their prime (late 20's to early 30's). This is probably their swansong phase of football playing career and start of management. But boy, I was wrong. These clubs have big money to spend and a huge untapped market to tap. China and India are the top two countries in the world in terms of population. More population means more eyeballs, more eyeballs mean more viewership, more viewership means more money and eventually more money means more players ready to take the risk of going to an uncharted territory. That's how Tevez got in. He signed for Shanghai Shenhua.
Carlos Tevez, in a rather emotional move, had rejoined Boca Juniors in 2015 - his childhood club from Juventus. This showed the guy has an emotional connection with his childhood club and their fans. And in the process, he opted not to go for another big money move and compromised on his earnings. This is a rarity in Football now-a-days. But then, a couple of years later, he might have thought that emotions wont give him the luxury he had when he played for some of the top clubs. Parity, unfortunately, was restored. Same goes for Oscar and even Hulk!
Many players are now open to the idea of joining Chinese Super League for more money and a new challenge. Tevez, Oscar, Hulk, Lavezzi and among them. These are the players who can still make a mark in the most challenges leagues in Europe and still be among the top. But they chose an option unknown to most of us. Money is definitely a huge pulling factor here. Doesn't that say something about the clout that Chinese league has over other leagues? I won't be surprised if more players decide to take the plunge! We are in for an exodus and as a premier league fan, it disappoints me. But hey, Football is growing rapidly in newer markets and with far greater fan following. This is not bad either.