The Spaniard admitted that his life as a footballer was not a normal one because of the huge money involved and expressed his dissatisfaction with the business aspect of modern football.
Manchester United’s Juan Mata has long been known to be one of the more intelligent and philosophical footballers in the Premier League. Although he and his club have not had a great season, they are still among the global elite of the footballing world.
Mata recently appeared on Spanish TV show Salvados and spoke about his privileged life as a footballer, as well as expressing resentment towards the business side of the game.
“I can understand what they’re talking about,” said Mata, when asked about people’s resentment towards aspects of the modern game, according to Spanish publication AS.
“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.
“I don’t enjoy the business side of football. I love the game. I love training and competing. I’d happily 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.”
The glittery veneer of the modern game
The sour sentiment against the modern game has grown even more bitter in recent times as football has become a massive global commodity. Gone are the days when teams relied on home-grown players and a solid fan base to get them through the season. Today is the age of exorbitant transfer fees, sky high salaries, global coverage and sponsorship deals.
The modern footballer has been elevated to the status of a demigod, and Juan Mata is just the latest to speak about simpler times. Earlier Barcelona right-back Dani Alves made headlines after claiming that he just wanted to be normal again, while Argentine forward Carlos Tevez left the glittery grounds of Europe to go back and play in Argentina for boyhood club Boca Juniors.
In these commercialized times it was inevitable that football clubs would choose to maximize their profit margins and elevate themselves to the level of corporate giants. The only hope one has is that the quality of the game is not compromised and we continue seeing the best in the world play football with joy in their heart.