Before Ronaldo, the golden transfers of Beckham in MLS, Oscar in China and Xavi in Qatar
David Beckham was only 31 years old when he decided to the general amazement to leave Real Madrid version « Galactic » to join the North American Championship (MLS) with the key to a check of 250 million dollars over five years and the possibility to launch his own MLS franchise, at a lower cost, which he will do in Miami in 2018.
“I come to play football and bring my experience to my team on the pitch. I come to be part of this team and not a superstar”assures “Becks” who is no longer the conquering “Red Devil” of his Manchester United years (1992-2003).
He lost his starting status at Real and was ousted from the England team of which he was captain. But in Los Angeles where he rubs shoulders with his wife, the ex-Spice Girl who became fashion designer Victoria, his star friends like Tom Cruise, Beckham lives again. He won two MLS championship titles (2011, 2012), did two freelances in 2009 and 2010 at AC Milan and even found the jersey of the English selection, but was deprived of the 2010 World Cup through injury.
His American experience then inspired many other players at the end of their career, such as Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls, 2010-14), Didier Drogba (Montreal, 2015-16), David Villa (New York City, 2014-18) or Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Los Angeles Galaxy, 2018-19).
Astronomical salaries to seduce legends
On December 23, 2016, the Shanghai SIP caused a sensation by recruiting Brazilian striker Oscar, then 25 years old, from Chelsea for 60 million euros, with an annual salary of 25 million euros.
A few weeks later, another Shanghai club, Shanghai Shenhua, offered the Argentinian international Carlos Tevez with an astronomical salary of 38 million euros per year!
The Chinese Super League is then in the Top 5 of the most expensive championships on the planet with 450 million dollars spent, or 2.5 times more than in 2015.
But the Chinese authorities are stopping this inflation of wages and transfers by limiting the number of foreign players per club and by establishing spending ceilings.
It is ultimately the Covid-19 crisis and the economic difficulties, even bankruptcies of club owners, in particular real estate groups, which considerably reduce the appeal of the Chinese Championship.
Seven years before organizing the 2022 World Cup, Qatar achieved a great feat: it convinced Xavi to leave his club FC Barcelona (1998-2015) to join Al Saad.
It is a monument of world football who, at 35, flies to Doha: Xavi has won everything, a World Cup (2010) and two Euros (2008, 2012) with Spain, four Champions Leagues (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015) and eight national titles with Barça.
Al Saad’s main argument is financial, with an annual salary estimated at ten million euros. Xavi will add to his record a Qatar Cup (2017) and a Qatar champion title (2019). And above all, he will take his first steps as a coach, before taking over the management of his dear Barça on November 6, 2021.
Before Xavi, another legend of Spanish football passed through Qatar and Al Saad Raul between 2012 and 2014.
Finally his privileged partner at Barça Andres Iniesta chose Japan and Vissel Kobe, from 2018, at the age of 34, where he still shines.