Manchester United’s Spain international Juan Mata has blasted the “rockstar” culture among young players in the modern game as “it’s like we live in a bubble”.
Mata joined United from Chelsea in January 2014 for a reported £37.1m and is understood to earn £150,000 a week at Old Trafford, yet he admits the figures are “ridiculous” and “unfathomable” and would take a pay cut if there was “less business involvement” in football.
“Football is very well remunerated at this level,” he told Spanish television via Reuters.
“It’s like we live in a bubble. Compared to the rest of society, we earn a ridiculous amount. It’s unfathomable.
“With respect to the world of football, I earn a normal wage. But compared to 99.9 percent of Spain and the rest of the world, I earn a silly amount.
“I can understand what [critics of the modern game] are talking about.
“The business side of football makes it seem as though the owners are now more important than the fans.
"Every player thinks he’s Diego Maradona when he joins a big club. That happens to all of us but then you notice it in the younger players.
“You see kids who think they're rock stars; wearing extravagant clothes and driving flash cars… sometimes you have to take them aside and have a word.
“I don't enjoy the business side of football. I love the game. I love training and competing.
“I’d take a pay cut if there was less business involvement in the sport.
“At this level, we're very well paid and sometimes you start thinking there isn’t much of a difference between x and x+3.”