Wayne Rooney’s new deal with Manchester United will be worth £130,000 per week before image rights and other bonuses when it is signed this summer. It’s the largest deal in the history of the club and reward for Rooney’s progression over the past season, where the former Evertonian scored 34 goals in all competitions for United.
But large as the deal is, Rooney is still some way behind the very top earners in Europe, with United benefiting from the players loyalty to the club after six years at Old Trafford and 282 games played.
The new deal, as yet unsigned and delayed while the Rooney’s fought a bitter court case against former agents Proactive over a disputed £4.3 million commission payment, will offer a substantial increase on the player’s current basic £90,000 per week contract.
Rooney effectively won the court case yesterday, with the striker ordered to pay just £90,000 “restitutional remedy” to Proactive, who represented the Scouser until the departure of agent Paul Stretford in 2008. Success has freed both player and club to pursue the new contract that has been in the offing for more than a year.
Rooney could earn substantially more elsewhere though. Indeed, the striker’s new contract will leave Rooney more than £75,000 per week worse off than Europe’s best paid player, Cristiano Ronaldo who earns €13 million gross per annum before bonuses and commercial activity.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Kaká, Emmanuel Adebayor, Karim Benzema, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Carlos Tevez all earn more than €8,500,000 basic per season and sit comfortably in the top 10 best paid footballers on the planet.
Indeed, the new wealth at Manchester City and the only slightly older riches at Stamford Bridge, together with Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, dominate the European pay scales.
Players in Spain currently benefit from the so-called “Beckham” law, which provides for a 24 per cent flat-rate tax scale for foreign nationals, while the upper tax rate in Italy is also less than that in the UK. It’s a fact that has pushed Manchester City’s spending even higher, with the Eastlands club forced to at least match new acquisitions’ net pay.
Rooney’s new deal will at least bring the United striker’s pay in line with other high English earners, including John Terry and Frank Lampard at Chelsea. But with the UK tax rate set to increase to 50 per cent from next April, Rooney’s net pay will sit well outside the top 10 best in Europe.
The striker’s deal will also take his pay above Rio Ferdinand as United’s best earner, with only Ryan Giggs and Dimitar Berbatov also in the top 50 best paid players in Europe. It’s a fact that reflects United’s transfer strategy over the past two years; shedding two substantial earners while replacing them with cheaper players.
Not that Rooney will suffer for lack of free cash. In addition to his United wage, the 24-year-old has multi-million long-term deals with both Coca-Cola and Nike, together with sponsorship from Ford, Asda, Electronic Arts and a publishing deal with HarperCollins.
After a disappointing end to last season’s challenge for Premier and Champions League glory, an ankle injury that stopped the striker scoring since March and a horrendous World Cup, Rooney can at least sleep well in the knowledge of life-long financial security.
Not bad for a kid that grew up in one of the country’s poorest housing estates.