Many times in sports, fans and analysts alike will engage in an age old question of whether or not a player is worth the contract he is receiving from a particular team or if a player is worth whatever a team is paying to acquire their services. With the announcement that finally the longest, most drawn out transfer ever has been completed with Gareth Bale moving to Real Madrid for a world record 100 million Euros (£86 million, $132 million) many are once again debating if Bale is worth 100 million.
The fact of the matter is that whether it be Gareth Bale or any other player, such debate and discussion on this issue is a waste of time for the most part. Gareth Bale is worth what Real Madrid paid for him because they determined that they needed a world class 24 year old midfielder who is entering his prime as a soccer player and has a lot to offer them as a club on and off the field of play.
First and foremost, the current market determined what Gareth Bale was worth. His former club Tottenham valued Bale at a certain price, and when a club like Real Madrid expressed interest in Bale, Tottenham did what any other team in their situation would do; it was willing to sell him so long as Real Madrid was willing to pay their asking price. In many ways, this is simple soccer economics as Bale’s value was determined by both clubs in negotiations where they both sought to get what they wanted. Real Madrid really wanted Bale and Tottenham, working from a position of strength dictated that he could be sold but only at their asking price; simple as that.
Another reason why Gareth Bale is worth the 100 million Euros Real Madrid are willing to pay for him is because they can actually afford it. Some people are asking how a team with debt around 590 million Euros can go ahead and pay 100 million Euros for a player while at the same time flout UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations. As was wonderfully laid out by Sean Smith in his August 27 article on ESPNFC.com, that figure is misleading and does not tell the full story. If anything Real Madrid are on very solid financial footing, and Real Madrid are in compliance with the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations in the debt that matters.
To further illustrate that Bale is worth what Real Madrid are willing to pay for him and that they can afford him, when Real Madrid signed Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2009 for £80 million, they recouped that fee and even profited as a year later the club announced it had made £90 million off of jersey sales with Cristiano Ronaldo’s number 9 jersey at the time. Given that it’s Real Madrid and the fact that Gareth Bale is a recognized star there is no reason to believe this won’t happen in this case as well.
In the final analysis, the transfer of Gareth Bale once again proves that any talk of whether or not a player is worth what another team is paying to acquire them is a useless discussion. Again, a pro athlete, in this case a soccer player, is worth whatever another club is willing to pay for him. Independent of whether or not Bale will live up to his transfer fee is inconsequential as the fact of the matter remains this: On September 1, 2013 he was worth 100 million Euros in the eyes of Real Madrid and that’s how much they were willing to pay for him; end of story.