It was revealed this week that Mario Balotelli had an interesting clause in his Liverpool contract that entitled him to a staggering £1 million bonus if he managed to get sent off less than three times a season for violent conduct. Various details of footballers contracts have emerged based on a series of documents released by Football Leaks group. Football Ticket Pad takes a look at five weird at wonderful contract clauses inserted in the contracts of Liverpool players past and present.
It is no secret that Liverpool are one of the richest clubs in the world which makes the demand for LFC tickets even greater for fans across the globe. Aside from astronomical transfer fees, the Reds splurge a huge amount on wages and their financial power has not stopped them when it comes to sealing deals for star players. Who ever said footballers were overpaid?
Mario Balotelli: The 26-year-old had the chance to gain a £1m bonus for every season that he went through avoiding any controversial moments at Liverpool. ‘Super Mario’s' contract stated: “If during each season of the term of this contract the player is not dismissed from the field of play on three or more occasions for violent conduct, spitting at an opponent, using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures, then on the 30th June at the end of each season he shall receive a bonus payment of £1m.”
Given his history, it would probably have seemed like a good idea at the time, but even on paper it’s pretty ridiculous. The report also revealed that Balotelli was earning £85,000 a week, along with a £25,000 bonus for each of his first five goals in the Premier League or European competition before earning £50,000 for every goal after that threshold was met. Despite all those incentives, it didn’t work for the Italian international at Anfield. He managed just four goals in 24 appearances for the club before being loaned out to AC Milan then moving to Nice on a free transfer in the summer.
Roberto Firmino: The Brazilian arrived on Merseyside from Hoffenheim for £29m in the summer of 2015 and has been a hit at Anfield. However, the fine details of his Liverpool contract include a €98m (£82.6m) release clause which can be activated by any club, except Arsenal. The 25-year-old forward’s current deal at Liverpool expires in 2022.
The Gunners infamously offered £40,000,001 for Luis Suarez while he was still a Liverpool player in 2013, in the hope than the extra £1 would trigger a clause in the striker’s contract. Liverpool angrily rebuffed the approach from Arsenal with the Liverpool principal owner John Henry tweeting: “What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?” Given Firmino’s clause, it appears that there is still some animosity between the two clubs.
Daniel Agger: The Anfield legend had a unusual commercial deal put in his contract when he left Liverpool in 2014 to rejoin Brondby. The defender was a crowd favourite during his eight years on Merseyside and despite taking what was a rather large pay cut from his current Liverpool deal, Agger did have this clever idea in the hope of generating some extra income.
The former Denmark international co-owns a dredging and sewage company called KloAgger with his brother and his friend and negotiated a deal to have the company advertised at home matches. Brondby and Agger himself agreed that the company name, KloAgger, would be emblazoned on the side of the pitch at the Brondby Stadium. The length of the advert had to be 215 metres and displayed during the game for 27 seconds on eight separate occasions on an LED advertising hoarding on the side of the pitch.
Nuri Sahin: The Reds were interested in signing the Borussia Dortmund player in January 2012 but were denied by the small print in the Turkish midfielder Real Madrid contract.
The clause in question stated that any club 'challenging for a title' could sign him for a bid in excess of £5m. Instead, Liverpool had to settle for signing the midfielder on a season-long loan that summer. The midfielder scored three goals in twelve matches on Merseyside, before being loaned out to Borussia Dortmund and later penning a permanent contract.
Stig Inge Bjornebye: The Norwegian arrived on Merseyside in 1992 and made over 100 appearances in eight years with the club. However, there was a clause inserted into his contract which made it strictly forbidden for him to take part in any on-piste activity.
Bjornebye was the son of professional skier, Jo Inge Bjornebye, who competed at the 1968 and 1972 Winter Olympics. Bjornebye had stated he wished to later follow in his father’s footsteps and become a professional ski jumper. Liverpool ultimately prevented him from doing so during his playing days at Anfield.