Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Ronaldo-must-stay camp Banks on a higher Pele-gree

Oh God how I love terrible puns.

Famous Brazilian superstar Pele has weighed in on the Christiano Ronaldo saga, and he's on my team. That's right, my team. As has legendary England keeper Gordon Banks.

Notable quotables:

Pele: "If you have a contract then in any job you have to finish the contract... I think when he finishes his contract he should be free to go wherever he wants to go." (seems logical enough!)

Banks: "I can't understand why he said he felt he was being treated like a slave. If he has just signed a new contract then he should respect his manager and honour it. It's stupid. I don't understand what the problem is. He plays for a team that has just won the European Cup and the Premier League. He plays for his country. What more does he want?" (the "wuddya mean 'more success'" argument)

Banks: "It's like anything in life. If a businessman signs a contract then he has to honour it. It' s no different than a professional footballer." (the "you're still in the real world you prissy bastard" argument)

I made this post for two reasons. Firstly - to again point out that Christiano Ronaldo is an asshole, but also, to officially alter my position slightly. Phil pointed out (many times in the comments section of past articles) that sometimes selling a player before his contract is up is in both the club's, and the player's best interests.

Let me give you an example: A side in a second division brings an amazing young player through the ranks, and at 20 he's absolutely top of his form, with 3 years remaining on his contract. A big club wants to buy this player, and is willing to spend huge gobs of money for him. It's in the player's best interest to go to the bigger club, as he will gain valuable experience. It's in the buying club's best interest to have the player. BUT - there are multiple pluses to the selling side. Firstly, they get a huge initial payout for the player. Secondly, they get credit for raising such a top-rate footballer. Thirdly, they can add a clause to the footballer's contract where they are written in to receive 10% of any future transfer fee for that player, meaning a cashflow later!

Additionally, if a player desperately wants to leave a club, there are two advantages to selling him. One, you won't be getting the performance you need out of him, making him effectively useless. But also, while under contract, getting rid of him is worth something to the selling club. Otherwise, his contract runs out, he doesn't resign with you, and another team gets him for free. So sell him while the advantage is there!

So, there is certainly are upsides to selling players before their contracts are up. But all parties involved must agree to the mutual advantages of said transfer, otherwise it's off until the contract is up.

At any rate, that's my bit, and I suppose I'm beating a dead horse here, but I'm sure I'll write more about contracts and contractual obligations as these and other scandals continue.

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