Soccer Break Wednesday – Money buys success

May 11, 2011

Cash, dollars, bucks, dough, call it what you want, it paves the way for football clubs to be successful.

On Tuesday the bank-rolled Manchester City outfit reached the Champions League qualifiers for next season and could even secure an automatic berth if they pip Arsenal to third place in the Premier League. That would be a real kick in the guts to Arsene Wenger, who has barely spent anything in comparison to City since he took over the North Londoners in 1996.

A further blow to the Gunners would be the departure of captain Cesc Fabregas. Would he go to City of all places?

Football fans out there, is this fair? Should clubs’ success be based purely on the size of their owners’ wallets?

City’s rise has coincided with Tottenham Hotspur’s demise this season. Spurs’ foray into the quarter-finals of the Champions League proved a big step and ultimately hurt their chances of a place in the competition next season. They may not even secure a Europa League spot. Double disaster. Or is it?

Staying with wage bills and money in the game, salaries in Major League Soccer are up 12 percent, and, surprise surprise, David Beckham is the biggest earner.

Beckham however represents everything that is good about the game, an honest, hard-working individual. What we saw on Tuesday was the darker side of football with the FIFA corruption allegations.

Over in Spain, and Barcelona can clinch the La Liga title on Wednesday. Given Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational goalscoring form, 36 in the league and 49 overall this season, Lionel Messi and co have done well to keep Real Madrid at bay and they need just a draw against Levante to edge six points clear of their great rivals.

Some new features for you now. Click here for a stadium guide to Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern’s home ground, and follow this link for a blog on the true home of football.

Finally, call yourself a passionate fan? Read about the Inverness Caledonian Thistle supporters who brave muddy bogs and large mosquitoes every year to follow their team. They set off on their ninth successive annual walk on Friday. Remarkable.

Discuss all these topics and other stories in world soccer on the Reuters Soccer Facebook page. And please feel free to send us recommendations for your pick of the day’s stories.

Picture: Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family and owner of Manchester City, pictured outside a bank in Dubai November 5, 2008. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

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