An Egyptian lawyer has filed a lawsuit against Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos for causing Mo Salah’s injury in Saturday’s Champions League final.
Salah came off in tears during the first half after dislocating his shoulder. The incident saw Ramos lock arms with the Egyptian before falling on top of him. The referee deemed that it wasn’t a malicious challenge, but groups of fans saw the challenge differently. Among them is Bassem Wahba.
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Wahba has launched a $1.2 billion (€1 billion) case against Ramos for deliberately inflicting “physical and psychological harm” on the star footballer.
“Ramos intentionally injured Mo Salah and should be punished about his actions. I’ve filed a lawsuit and a complaint to the FIFA.”
It seems a big ask for Ramos, one of Spain’s most celebrated footballers, to end up bankrupt as a result of a questionable tackle. However, even if Ramos escaped without punishment, Salah’s club, country and sponsors will pay the price.
To say that Salah coming off injured cost Liverpool the game is a bit of a stretch, especially when considering Loris Karius’ disastrous performance in goal.
However, Salah has provided Liverpool with 44 goals and 16 assists in 52 goals this season. He has played a role in at least one goal per game in the Champions League, even when pitted against teams like Premier League champions Manchester City. It is fair to say that Salah would have likely had an impact had he seen out the game.
By reaching the final, Liverpool had already secured a £46.3 million share of the prize pool. In comparison to the riches that change hands in football, the difference between winning and losing Saturday’s final was minute. Real Madrid made an extra £3.9 million for their efforts, which will barely cover the club’s wage bill for a week.
However, the ability to attract high-paying sponsors is where Liverpool will really miss out.
Champions League champions’ sponsorship deals
In the decade prior to Chelsea’s first Champions League victory in 2012, the club agreed 18 new sponsorship deals according to data provided by Sportcal. Some years were better than others – 2006, for example, after the club retained the Premier League title – but the club secured two new sponsors annually on average.
However, during Chelsea’s reign as European champions, companies in a range of industries were queuing up to partner with the club. In the 12 months that the club held the Champions League title, nine new sponsorship deals were signed with companies like Samsung, Singha Beer and energy company Gazprom.
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Sportcal only has financial data on two of those deals, but those alone were worth $73.4 million a year to Chelsea. The total value of sponsorship deals agreed off the back of their Champions League victory is likely far larger.
Bayern Munich, the winner of the 2013 Champions League final, announced 13 new deals in 2014, up from an average of 2.9 a year over the previous decade.
Real Madrid has seen an increase in recent years, having now won three consecutive Champions League titles. The club signed ten new sponsors in 2016 and 15 more in 2017. Given their most recent victory, they can expect double digits again in 2018.
It is clear that clubs are either finding it easier to attract sponsors, or are becoming more open to who they do business with. All clubs have seen numbers increase in recent years. However, it is also clear that sponsorship activity increases in the year that follows a Champions League victory.
Winning the Champions League final would have secured Liverpool’s squad a bonus of around £200,000 per player.
For Salah, that equates to around 12 days of work. The player currently earns £120,000 a week and, while £200,000 is hardly a life-changing sum, it is unlikely that he would’ve said no to the extra income had Liverpool claimed the trophy.
Again, there’s no way of knowing what kind of impact Salah might have had on outcome of the game. However, his injury denied him the chance to prove himself against Cristiano Ronaldo, the current holder of the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
Alongside Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who have shared the award between them for the last decade, Salah is still in the running. However, leading Liverpool to the Champions League trophy would have likely swung it his way.
No cash prize is given to Ballon d’Or winners. However, the earnings of Ronaldo and Messi show just how much of a boost joining those elite ranks could be worth to Salah.
According to Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid Athletes list, Ronaldo and Messi were the first and third highest-earners in sport in 2017, making $93 million and $80 million respectively.
Salah’s injury comes at a terrible time for Egypt, as the country prepares to contest its first FIFA World Cup tournament in almost three decades.
The nation secured top spot in their qualification group, beating the likes of Uganda, Ghana and Congo along the way. Egypt finished the qualification stage with eight goals in six games, five of which were scored by the Liverpool forward.
Salah’s goals singlehandedly provided eight of Egypt’s 13 points. Without his contribution, Egypt would have finished with five points, which would have seen Uganda secure one of Africa’s places at the World Cup finals ahead of them. That should tell you everything that you need to know about how important Salah is to the side.
Salah has already secured Egypt a place in the Russia World Cup group stage and the $8 million prize that comes with it. However, with a total pot of $400 million up for grabs, Egypt would have been hopeful that Salah’s goal-scoring form would carry them a little further.
But with just over two weeks to go until the tournament gets underway, Salah is facing a race against time to recover. According to WebMD, a dislocated shoulder can take anywhere from three to 12 weeks to fully heal.
As well as his £120,000 a week contract, Salah also likely makes a decent bonus from sponsorship deals. Ronaldo is a good example of the riches on offer to those that can attract big brands like Nike.
Ronaldo earned $31.5 million through sponsorships in 2017, which made him the world’s highest-earning athlete. While Salah isn’t quite at that level yet, he has partnered with brands such as Vodafone, Uber Egypt and DHL Express in the past 12 months, which will have boosted his earnings.
There is no financial data available for these sponsorships. However, there is surely some incentive for these companies in agreeing to a deal. Whether Salah failing to make it to the World Cup will change this is unclear. Nevertheless, a Champions League winners medal (and a potential Player of the Year award) would have boosted Salah’s reputation, which could have only been a good thing for his sponsors.
Despite missing out on the chance to add the Champions League trophy to his collection once again, Klopp’s reputation has only increased this season. He has taken what was deemed to be one of England’s weaker Champions League sides to second place, beating the likes of Sevilla and Manchester City in the process.
There is no chance of Klopp losing his place at Liverpool as a result of missing out on the cup. In the last ten years, four out of 13 managers to have featured in a Champions League final have seen their spell with the club ending with the sack.
Chelsea’s Avram Grant, Bayern Munich’s Louis van Gaal, Chelsea’s Roberto Di Matteo and Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti were all fired despite taking their clubs all the way in the Champions League. Two of these were winners and two were runners-up.
In fact, Klopp should be thankful for Liverpool’s defeat if he’s looking forward to a long stay in England. By our calculations, managers that lose the Champions League final tend to stay at their clubs longer than those that win. Winning managers tend to stay at their clubs for 581 days after securing the trophy, while losers generally last 738 days.
Just one winning manager, Sir Alex Ferguson in 2008, survived longer than his losing counterpart.