Superstars, Superrich Sportsmen

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Mayweather

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THEY are rich, famous and athletic. But what has brought them fame is nothing but their athletic prowess and personal charismas, which made them marketable. Apart from being top performers in their individual sporting activities, they are darling of sponsors who are falling over themselves to have their faces on their products while business acumen also play prominent part in the amount of money they make for themselves.

A Goal.com survey published recently showed that the highest moneyman in sporting activities currently is Floyd Mayweather Jr, a boxer. The 37-year-old welterweight boxing champion is estimated to have earned a $105 million in 2014. Although he does not boast of any endorsement deal, Mayweather’s two fights against Marcos Maidana last year, brought him $105 million.

Ronaldo
Ronaldo

Placed second in the rich list is Cristiano Ronaldo, a footballer and three-time Ballon d’Or winner. Ronaldo is now the highest-paid team sportsman on the planet with earning of $80 million in 2014 alone. Ronaldo earned $52 million between salary and bonuses with the other $28 million coming off the field. His renegotiated contract with Real Madrid contract in 2013, has reportedly made him the best-paid player in the world. Besides, his endorsements and commercial deals include contract with Nike as well as a newly-announced partnership with the Sacoor Brothers clothing company. Ronaldo also runs his own CR7 underwear line, now expanded to include a range of shirts and footwear.

James
James

Coming third is LeBron James, American basketball player, who earned about $72.3 million in 2014 according to Forbes. The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar is a year into a two-year deal with his hometown club after leaving Miami Heat, an NBA champion. His earnings are both from salaries, bonuses and endorsements.

In fourth position is Lionel Messi, former world footballer of the year who plays for Barcelona football, club in Spain. He earned about $65 million for the year. The Argentine football captain made all his money from salaries, bonuses and investment.

Coming fifth is Kobe Bryant, another basketball player, with earnings of about $61.5 million.

Keshi Loses Out?

STEPHEN Keshi, controversial coach of the Nigerian Super Eagles, appears to have lost out in his battle with Nigeria Football Federation, NFF. The House of Representatives Committee on Sports, on Tuesday, March 10, asked the NFF not to engage him again to coach the national team.

The committee noted that the 2013 African Nations Cup winner had nothing else to offer to the national team. It regretted that despite the dismal performance of Keshi as manager of the national team in recent times, the federation had continued to romance with him.

Keshi
Keshi

The committee gave the order when members of the NFF board went to defend their 2015 budget at the National Assembly.  Godfrey Ali Gaiya, chairman of the committee, observed that even though the body language of the NFF suggested it would no longer want Keshi to continue as Eagles’ coach, the federation was scared of sacking him because it believed that certain top powers were behind him.

“You attributed our inability to qualify for the last Nations Cup to the NFF leadership crisis that distracted you. You were not properly focused to qualify. I am very concerned that we may have gotten over the crisis of leadership, but one crisis that is lurking now is even of a more serious magnitude than that of leadership. That is the crisis of who is our national coach.

“I know that basically a team is made of the players and coaching crew. You cannot have a team without a technical crew. If since July 2014 and we are now in March, we have not been able to settle the issue of who is our national team coach, I think the prayers of my colleagues and the yearnings of majority of Nigerians that our tram will do well at all times may still be truncated.

“I have seen the body language of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on its choice of national team coach. I have also seen the utterances of the person you want to employ as national team coach. It is obvious that you do not have a coach and the NFF body language does not seem to support the quest for Keshi to continue as Eagles’ coach. The average Nigerian on the street believes too that Keshi has done his best and it is time for him to take a bow. My committee believes that even when he has done his best, he should quit now that the ovation is loudest. You will agree with me that in the last 14 matches he has executed as Super Eagles coach, the results have been a dismal failure.

“I do not think as a committee that we can sit back here and watch the fortune of our darling national team go in tatters because somebody somewhere is not willing to do what is right. If the NFF lacks the capacity or boldness to tell Keshi to go that they don’t need him again, they should bring him before our committee so that we can tell him to his face,” Gaiya said.

The Committee also directed the federation to defend within seven days the monies it received from FIFA, world football governing body, and the Confederation of African Football, CAF, as grants, as well as the funds from sponsors and the federal government.

Seyi Akinwumi, first vice-president of the NFF, who represented the federation, submitted to the House only the details of how it spent the N1.56 billion the federal government approved for it in 2014. But Gaiya rejected the 2014 budget appraisal document submitted by the NFF, saying that it was within the purview of the House to look into how funds, including gifts from affiliate international bodies were utilised.

Arsenal, Everton, Stoke to Play in Singapore

Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal Football Club
Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal Football Club

ARSENAL, Everton and Stoke City football clubs in England have all agreed to play in this year’s Asia Trophy in Singapore in preparation for the 2015-16 Premier League season.

The three English teams will be joined by a Singapore select XI for the mid-July knock-out tournament at Singapore’s new national stadium.

“We are very excited to bring the Barclays Asia Trophy to Singapore for the first time,” Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, said in a statement.

According to Scudamore, Singaporeans are huge fans of the Barclays Premier League, especially Arsenal, which has always been one of the most thrilling teams in the league. Praising the club, he said Arsenal had some wonderful players that would delight its numerous fans from across Southeast Asia.

Apart from Arsenal, he said: “Everton under Roberto Martinez continue to play an exciting brand of football, while Stoke City mix flair with a never-say-die attitude. Fans in Singapore should expect our most competitive ever Barclays Asia Trophy.”

The Asia Trophy is the only Premier League-affiliated competition to be held outside of England. It has been held every two years since 2003.

Singapore has never hosted the tournament before but the Southeast Asian city-state got the nod after the completion of its billion-dollar sports complex, which also hosts the annual end-of-season championship for women’s tennis.

The competition would avail Arsenal, the FA Cup holders, to make its first appearance at the Asian Trophy, as will Stoke City. Everton played in the 2005 tournament in Bangkok, finishing fourth after twice losing on penalties.

The four team tournament takes place over two match days on July 15 and 18, with an initial knockout round, a final and a third-place playoff.

Murray Hires Bjorkman as Coach

Murray
Murray

APPARENTLY hungering for silverware, Andy Murray, 27, world number four tennis player, is hiring Jonas Bjorkman, former tennis champion to join coaching team full time as from next month.

Bjorkman, 42, will assist Amelie Mauresmo, French federation cup captain, who works with Murray for 25 weeks a year.

Bjorkman, a Swede and former world number four, retired in 2008 and is currently appearing in ‘Let’s Dance’ TV series in Sweden.

He was suggested as a replacement for Ivan Lendl when the Czech ended his relationship with Murray a year ago. Bjorkman also won nine grand slam doubles titles, including three successive Wimbledon crowns from 2002 to 2004.

Murray and Dani Vallverdu, his coach, parted company in November and the British has since, been looking for a coach to work with him when Mauresmo does not travel.

Speaking about the situation recently, Murray said: “After the Aussie Open, I spent the next three or four weeks with no coach and I feel that’s something I need to get sorted.

“I feel like there are some things I need to continue to work on all the time. When I don’t have someone there with me it’s a little bit harder to do that. For me, it’s better to have someone around, so I’ll try to make sure I do that for the clay-court season. That’s high on my list of priorities.” Since retiring, Bjorkman has been involved with the Stockholm Open and the Swedish Davis Cup team.

— Mar. 23, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT

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