‘Money in football is difficult to control’, says Liverpool legend Garcia

Luis Garcia opined on the topic of money in football during a three-day roadshow in Mumbai called LFC World, which provides an opportunity for fans to meet their idols and capture their autographs.

Luis Garcia (left) was part of Liverpool's 2005 Champions League winning squad. - PTI

Luis Garcia, a star striker at Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in La Liga apart from being a Liverpool legend, asserts that the market determines player transfers. And the mind-boggling money paid by clubs to retain match-winners like Lionel Messi (contracted to FC Barcelona till 2021) or attract crowd-pullers like Neymar Jr. (Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain) is a reflection of the sport’s growth.

Argentine legend Messi signed to remain at the Nou Camp till 2021 for a deal reportedly worth US$645,000 a week with a buyout clause slated to be US$835m and a signing bonus of US$59.6m. His former team-mate Neymar moved to French club PSG on a five-year contract, after the Parisians chose to buy out his Barcelona contract by paying a whopping US$262m.

Read: Messi was never going to leave Barcelona, says Guardiola

The 20-cap Garcia, answering a query about the money the cash-rich clubs are ready to splash to get the names they want, replied: “It is not for me to give any opinions (on money in football transfers). Football is the way it is. The game is growing in all departments, not only money part, 20 years back or 50 years back. It has always been increasing. It is something you cannot stop globally.” Neymar’s move to France and Messi’s decision to stay put at Barcelona for a fee changed the scale of club spending forever.

He added: “Football is becoming so important around the world, it is a way of life. People live football, it is a philosophy. At the end, there are many aspects together (which influences sport) and it means a lot to people around the world. One thing that should happen is that it (money in football) should be a little more balanced, it is my opinion. Market decides (the monetary value of a player), not the supporters. Money in football is difficult to control. You cannot stop player payments rising."

Garcia, a member of the 2005 Champions League winning squad at Liverpool, was speaking on the sidelines of LFC World, giving the Premier League team’s local fans a chance to meet famous names from the recent past. Sami Hyypia, a Finland defender with stints at Liverpool before taking up managership post-retirement, felt players were not at fault for the incredible sums spent by team owners to acquire famous faces.

Read: Liverpool bound for Champions League glory, say Liverpool legends

Hyypia reasoned: “It is not the players’ fault that they are being paid so much money, the only problem I foresee is when teams over-spend and probably leading to a situation when some player is not paid the money promised to him. Suppose you get an offer for a job with remuneration more than anybody paid before, would you refuse the offer and say money is too much,” asked the Finn, dealing with a question if player payments were getting out of hand.

Following the Neymar move away to France, Barcelona moved quickly to sign French winger Ousmane Dembele from German club Borussia Dortmund, costing the Spanish club US$125m. Far away from Messi at Barcelona and Neymar at PSG, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua (SGS) club reportedly pays Argentine striker Carlos Tevez US$765,000.

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