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Few would argue that footballers deserve the exorbitant wages that many of them receive. Samuel Eto’o’s contract at mega-rich Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala sees the Cameroonian forward take home a fee in the region of £250,000 a week, and he is far from alone in commanding that sort of money. Carlos Tevez is currently making around that figure despite being on strike at Manchester City and despite playing for the relatively small time L.A Galaxy, former England captain David Beckham is rumoured to earn roughly $40 million a year.

Emmanuel Adebayor attracted column inches recently, with few praising his refusal to drop rumoured wages of £170,000 in order to join Tottenham Hotspur. Adebayor’s reasoning was simple – “We all play football to get money”. Perhaps not a quote designed to curry favour with the romantics, but one that is rooted in the realism that is lost on them all too often. While Adebayor is of course generalising, he is largely correct. After all, who would put in the commitment required of footballers for no reward? I am not suggesting for one moment that the sacrifices made by professional footballers are equivalent to the hundreds of thousands a week that many of them earn, but I can say with some certainty that few of us would turn such fees down if offered. There are vast, some would say outrageous sums of money floating around the footballing world and it is not the players who are to blame – if it was not going to them it would certainly find its way to less deserving recipients. The fact is that we, as fans are one of many groups indirectly responsible for making football the big business that it is today – all the players can be blamed for is having the nous to try to earn as much as they possibly can. No one would dream of criticising a friend for earning a promotion or pay rise, however undeserved, so why is it acceptable to shun the professional footballers who entertain us on a weekly basis for what is essentially the same thing?

Football is a career lacking in the security that many others can boast. All it takes is a bad injury, or even a period of poor form and the dream could be over. For many footballers it seems to be a case of earning as much as they can, while they still can – hardly a surprise when many of the financial difficulties encountered by careless ex-pros are taken into consideration.

It is all too easy to characterise footballers as mercenaries, but that doesn’t mean that it is correct. They are not thieves; they certainly do not force us to part with the cash that ultimately pays for their wages. While I am sure that there are some who have taken a few clubs for a ride, there are just as many and almost certainly more who simply want to earn as much as they can in order to provide a comfortable and secure existence for their loved ones. Cheesy? Of course, but who could begrudge them that.