In a time the world is struggling to fight off the pandemic of CoVID-19, people are looking for leaders and inspiration.
Sports Psychologist Tom Bates has hailed football icons Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney for showing the way.
Of the thousands of players now accepting and iniating wage cuts of 70%, Lionel Messi was the first man to lead the way by reducing his wages at Barcelona. Wayne Rooney for his part not only spoke about letting go of his entire wage but also off the mental effect it can have on young, inspirational players encouraging thousands of inspirational footballing superstars of tomorrow to come forward and deal with their problems.
“The players that I have spoken with from the Premier League all the way through, they have different perspectives, naturally,” he told Stats Perform.
“One of the things that the guys have said is, ‘Well, actually at our club we are quite a wealthy club, so we could probably afford to keep our staff paid, but other clubs in different leagues won’t be able to do that’. Others feel like taking a pay cut to keep their staff on board is absolutely fine.
“The classic case is Leo Messi, who started this and was one of the first players to take a 70 per cent pay cut in order to make sure the staff at Barcelona were able to carry on working, and I think that really is a global example to everybody when you’re talking about that level in money in wages, and that type of athlete.
“I am very privileged: I have met Leo Messi and [Pep] Guardiola over there in Barcelona together as a team, and it doesn’t surprise me that they are leading the way with this.
“If there was going to be a global example of a player out there doing something for the greater good of their club – and he embodies that for me – so, in my professional opinion, if you can afford that and if you’re able to support by taking a pay cut, then clearly those who need it the most are going to benefit.”
On Rooney, he went on to say:
“Wayne is in many ways an ambassador, he is a cultural leader for the game, especially because what he has achieved at international level, and certainly to be continuing his career even now and still performing at a very high level encourages others to do the same,” Bates said.
“When you have somebody like Wayne come and be very open and very honest about mental health on a global level within the game, that can only be a good thing because it encourages others to have conversations, to open up conversations and be courageous enough to talk about their own mental health, and of course talking about it is the first step to improving it.”