• Thursday, February 29, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Decline of Italy’s Serie A

juventus-stadium

During 2009’s summer transfer market, two of the biggest Italian football teams, Inter Milan and AC Milan, lost their key players, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kaka, two of the best players in the world, to Spanish sides Barcelona and Real Madrd.

This loss seems to be just another step in the process of Serie A’s decline while many factors have started to prop up the growth and supremacy of both the Spanish Liga and the English Premier League.

The annual salaries of every Serie A player revealed that Italian league is falling behind Europe’s top leagues.

The Report shows that SerieA clubs are now spending close to a combined £500m less on wages compared with 2011 as even the league’s highest earners collect far less than Premier League and La Liga stars.

France fringe player, Paul Pogba, earns just £23,000-per-week net this season despite being one of the most talented young midfielders in the world and a player Juventus will no doubt hope to keep hold of.

Seria A champion Juventus top the list in money spent on wages and the only Italian club to increase their wage bill from the 2013/14 season with the likes of Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal earning upward salaries of £60,000-per-week.

Pirlo

Roma star Daniele De Rossi is Roma’s highest earner with a contract worth £5.2m excluding any bonuses.

Former Chelsea left back and Roma new boy Ashley Cole decided to move to Italy after failing to agree a contract extension with the Blues and has signed up to earn around £35,000-per-week with Rudi Garcia’s side.

Cole’s former England team-mate Micah Richards decided to follow in the left back’s footsteps and head to Italy in search of first-team football with Fiorentina.

The 26-year-old earns £26,000-per-week with his new club and becomes Fiorentina’s fourth highest earner behind Alberto Aquilani, Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez.

Elsewhere, former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic  recoup around £50,000-per-week as he shares the highest earner at Inter Milan with Argentine forward Rodrigo Palacio, with both set to earn a minimum of £2.5m for the 2014/15 season.

After a difficult three years with Chelsea, Fernando Torres has finally searched for pastures new after signing a two-year loan deal with AC Milan.

Fernando Torres goes from £175,000-per-week at Chelsea to £60,000-per-week at AC Milan

NemanjaVidic is Inter Milan’s highest defender earner after his move from Manchester United to Inter Milan.

Pogs2

The Spanish striker slips straight into the club’s highest earner spot and will collect close to £61,000 each week – nowhere near his £175,000-per-week deal in west London.

The decline in wages, Italian football is clear to see when looking at the pay of Inter’s highest earner Samuel Eto’o during the 2009/10 season.

Eto’o was earning a staggering £160,000-per-week at the San Siro compared to the £50,000-per-week of Vidic.

Inter’s second highest earner Patrick Vieira was quite a way off Eto’o’s figures but still managed to collect £84,000-per-week.

The figures are stark contrast to that of the highest earners in La Liga with the likes of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi all earning over £200,000-per-week to ply their trade in Spain.

De Rossi’s highest-earner tag is dwarfed by the Premier League’s top earner Wayne Rooney, who can boast a stunning £300,000-per-week.

The total spend in Serie A amounted to around 335m euros according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, with 306 million earned by Italian top-flight clubs given the high-profile departures of Benatia to Bayern and Ciro Immobile to Dortmund.

While Premier League clubs shattered the previous summer spending total transfer window spend to £835m, according to Deloitte, the Spanish La Liga has exploited the famous active spending, the immense prestige of the two biggest teams, Real and Barça, and especially the favourable tax regulations. Teams can spend more and offer better salaries, as the taxes on football are much lighter than elsewhere.

The lack of competition really damaged the league in terms of television revenue, which has translated into many clubs encountering financially difficult situations.

This has led to the loss of numerous stars such as Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Lavezzi, Pastore, Veratti, Jovetic and most Cavani among others. It longer possesses the appeal that attracted the likes of Zidane, Zico, Platini and Maradona.

While in this time of economic crisis, caution when it comes to spending millions could be an intelligent move, in a business like football, clubs can grow and be successful only through investments, and passionate Italian fans could face more disappointments if there isn’t a change in the passive attitude of those who run the clubs they support.

Meanwhile, only Napoli has shown true ambition after investing in players like Higuain, Reina, Callejon, Albiol and Mertens that many attribute the availability of these funds to the sale of Cavani.

With young players like Insigne, El-Sharaawy and Ljajic being sought after by major clubs, it can only be a matter of time when the league is robbed of its most prestigious talents.

ANTHONY NLEBEM