Wayne Rooney Signs $104 Million Contract With Manchester United
Wayne Rooney ended months of speculation about his soccer future by signing a four-year contract extension worth a reported £300,000 a week with Manchester United. Rooney has a year and a half left on his current deal, so the extension commits the striker to United until June 2019. The agreement is worth nearly $26 million a year, including commercial rights and is the biggest annual salary in the history of the English Premier League. United owes Rooney $136 million over the next five and a half years, which will catapult him up the list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
The pact marks a dramatic turnaround at United for Rooney who was benched last year for the last two games of the 26-year reign of manager Alex Ferguson. Rooney asked to leave Old Trattford at the end of last season, according to a recent book by Ferguson. Rival EPL club Chelsea offered two bids on Rooney over the summer, which were rejected. Arsenal also expressed interest in the 28-year-old, who is now in his tenth season with United.
Rooney has a chance to go down as one of the all-time greats in the history of Manchester United. His 208 goals in 430 games ranks fourth on the club’s all-time goal scorers list. He is only 41 behind the leader, Sir Bobby Charlton. ”Wayne has been the best player in England since I put him into the Everton first team in 2003. Since becoming United manager in July last year, I have enjoyed working with him and seeing just how he has developed his incredible talent,” said David Moyes in United’s press release announcing the news. “With his ability, his experience and his desire to succeed, he is a vital part of my plans for the future and I’m absolutely thrilled he has accepted the challenge.”
Despite his standing in the game, Rooney has not been an endorsement star. His current deals include Nike and Samsung, but his endorsement earnings last year of $3 million badly trail the game’s best, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who both banked more than $20 million off the pitch. EA Sports ended its seven-year partnership with Rooney in 2012 and other deals have been slow to materialize. Part of his endorsement problem rests in controversies during Rooney’s involving prostitution, infidelity and his temper.
Rooney’s new United agreement will look to find endorsement deals fitting his status as the most popular player on the world’s most popular team, which claims 650 million fans. United’s commercial staff will help seek out endorsement deals for Rooney across the globe, according to the Telegraph.
United sits a disappointing seventh in the current EPL standings, but it remains a financial powerhouse. The club expects revenue of £420 million to £430 million pounds (roughly $700 million) for the current season, up from £363 million last year. The club is also on the verge of a new kit deal that could put over $1 billion into United’s coffers over the next decade. Nike is currently paying $39 million a year for a 13-year sponsorship that expires in 2015. The next deal with either Nike or Adidas is expected to be worth more than $100 million a year, dwarfing the current record $50 million a year Adidas pays Real Madrid.