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In France, half of Ligue 1 players earn less than 35,000 euros net per month. The others touch a little more, or even much more, like the Brazilian Neymar (3,060,000 euros), the French Kylian Mbappé (1,910,000 euros), or Thiago Silva, another Brazilian, who signed at 1,500,000 euros . All evolve at Paris-Saint-Germain and it is therefore not surprising to find that the best-paid African in Ligue 1 – the Senegalese Idrissa Gueye, 500,000 euros per month – also wears the colors of the club of the capital city. Idrissa Gueye, along with Algerian Islam Slimani (fourth salary in Monaco) and Burkinabé Bertrand Traoré (third salary in Lyon), is in the top 30 best-paid footballers in France, with respective monthly salaries of 380,000 euros and 350 000 euros.
- Idrissa Gueye, Islam Slimani and Bertrand Traoré, the winning trio
On reading the figures revealed by The Team, it is interesting to note that, in several clubs, the highest paid player is an African. This is the case for the Tunisian Wahbi Khazri (Saint-Etienne, 210,000 euros), the Ivorian Max-Alain Gradel (Toulouse, 190,000 euros), the Nigerian Moses Simon (Nantes, 150,000 euros), the Cameroonian Stéphane Bahoken and the Moroccan Rachid Alioui (Angers, 70,000 euros), the Ghanaian Majeed Warris (Strasbourg, 80,000 euros), the Gabonese Bruno Ecuele Manga and the Algerian Yassine Benzia (Dijon, 95,000 euros), the Senegalese Moussa Konaté ( Amiens, 100,000 euros), the Togolese Alaixys Romao (Reims, 60,000 euros), and the Senegalese Habib Diallo (Metz, 80,000 euros). And in other clubs, some African players are among the highest paid, such as Algerian Adam Ounas (Nice, 180,000 euros) or Senegalese Mbaye Niang in Rennes (220,000 euros).
- When Sadio Mané won 3,000 euros in Metz
The salaries of African players have tended to increase in recent years, and this should further increase from the 2020-2021 season, thanks to the explosion of TV rights. ” Clubs have more resources. Players benefit. The same goes for Africans. Their remuneration is linked to several elements. For example, attackers are often paid more than others. Age also matters, but nationality does not. In any case, not in our club. At equal level, we will not make a difference depending on whether the player is Senegalese or Zimbabwean “Says a leader, speaking on condition of anonymity.
As for FC Metz, where the three largest contracts are held by Africans, President Bernard Serin specifies the remuneration system chosen by the club. “ We are partners of Generation Foot, in Senegal. Players begin their training in Dakar, sometimes start in Senegalese Ligue 1 before coming to Metz. This was the case for Sadio Mané, who started with us in Ligue 2 at 3,000 euros per month. The principle is to offer, for a first professional contract, the same salary, that the players have completed all their training in Metz, wherever they came from Senegal, like Habib Diallo. “
- Still some reluctance linked to the status of African international
The latter, top scorer in Ligue 2 in 2018-2019, saw his emoluments increase with the accession to Ligue 1, and increase to 70,000 euros per month. ” It’s a fair reward. We extended his contract, with a clear salary increase, because we know his value. He has been in France since 2013. On the other hand, for a player who comes from Africa, like the Malian Adama Traoré, recruited in 2018 from TP Mazembe, the first salary is quite low. Because there are questions about its intrinsic value. The difference between the DRC championship and the French Ligue 1 is great. We also look at how the player adapts to his new environment. But if the player gives satisfaction, he will be quickly increased “Continues Bernard Serin.
The status of an African international can, however, constitute an obstacle during wage negotiations. ” The clubs know that there is the CAN every two years, and that the players go to play qualification matches in Africa, with sometimes long journeys, on lawns which can cause injuries. I was a player, then an agent, and I know that the reluctance still exists “Says former Cameroonian international Patrick Mboma.
- Patrick Mboma: “The wages of Africans are increasing”
The latter, who notably played at Paris-Saint-Germain and Metz, earned, during his career in France, between 7,000 and 10,000 euros gross. ” The current figures make me say that I arrived too early on this Earth. More seriously, I see that the wages of Africans are increasing because, in my time, the treatment was not the same. There was a form of sport discrimination. We were aware of the quality of the player but, in the minds of people, since he was African, it had to cost less. This also holds true for transfers. Since then, mentalities have changed. We pay the best players very well. Having said that, I think there are still some disparities sometimes. Basically, a Brazilian will be paid better than a Cameroonian, who will himself be better off than a Liberian. For players coming directly from Africa, there is always, from Europe, doubts about the level of professionalism of the African championships “, Specifies Patrick Mboma.
French agent Stéphane Canard, president of the Union des agents sportif de football (UASF), and who works with several African players (Aymen Abdennour, Adama Ba, Jean-Eudes Aholou, Mamadou Samassa), provides several details. ” A player, who is international, will be in a strong position to negotiate a better salary, even if certain European clubs may be reluctant because they will see them go to play CAN or matches in Africa. It’s rare, but it exists “Explains the agent. French clubs can also move their salary scales to recruit an African player from a more profitable championship. This is the case of Dijon, which offers 95,000 euros per month to Bruno Ecuele Manga, who earned just over 150,000 euros in Cardiff City (English Premier League). ” Is that this responds to a strong request from the technical staff, and the club will make the effort », Specifies Stéphane Canard.
It is also common for African players, arriving directly from their country of origin, to accept modest wages under pressure from those around them. ” Imagine a footballer who, in his country, earns 300 or 400 euros per month, that his parents earn 100 each. A French club will offer him 5,000 euros, because this corresponds to the salary grid in force. Sometimes, under the pressure of an entourage who sees in this sum a providential windfall, pushes him to accept, when he could have hoped for double “Continues Stéphane Canard. But today, in French Ligue 1, African players make a majority (very) good living. And the trend should not reverse soon.