Raúl García, from Athletic Club, shows that elite football is more than egos and money

Kylian Mbappé, the most valuable footballer in the world, is restless. His future is up in the air, despite signing an excellent contract with Paris Saint-Germain in early May. Rumors have it that he is unhappy with the Ligue 1 champion as his wishes are not being met, although the striker has not publicly confirmed these frustrations.

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo, 37, is not happy at Manchester United. Desperate for playing time, especially with a possible World Cup swan song drawing ever closer, his decision to leave Old Trafford towards the end of a Premier League home game against Tottenham Hotspur has angered his manager. and many on the outside looking in.

These are two examples of players with extravagant salaries taking center stage, and not for the right reasons. Mbappé’s situation is delicate, with exaggerated media interest and criticism perhaps creating a distorted picture of reality. Despite this possibility, it’s hard to escape the feeling that some top earners care almost exclusively about themselves.

Raul Garcia enters. One of the emblematic publications of Spain, The country, has published a direct interview with the Athletic Club striker, in which he offers a contrasting perspective (in Spanish) on how some professional players see the game and their money. And their livelihoods.

Garcia, 36, is a seasoned professional in La Liga and has the third-most appearances in the competition’s history, with 563 games and counting. This season he is playing a more supportive role for his team, with fellow striker Iñaki Williams taking on goal-scoring responsibilities for a team with plenty of confidence and battling to qualify for European competition next season.

“You have to understand the moment we are in,” García said frankly to the media in a broad talk, adding: “There are people without jobs, some people do not have enough to feed themselves, I would like everyone to live well.

“I would be delighted if my taxes were raised if the money goes where it should.”

For some in Spain, wages are low, and it is not uncommon for people to earn less than €1,000 a month after taxes. According to some sources, Garcia is the highest grosser in his employer. However, judging from his behavior when he talks about his experience in the game, it doesn’t seem to affect him much.

A respected, if not glamorous, name, Garcia helps identify the three-tier financial disparity between many hard-working, top-flight soccer players, and the unparalleled riches of Mbappe, Ronaldo, Neymar and others, the latter trio among those operating in a completely different stratosphere. The hype surrounding star players means they are almost labels in their own right, capable of capturing sponsors and brand associations galore.

Offering insight into the minds of many professional players, who often draw the attention of cameras and fans alike, Garcia was blunt in his assessment.

“I would like my privacy back. Football generates what it generates and we win what we win”, revealed the veteran.

“I don’t walk away from people. Sometimes, I have to because of how they act around me. I consider myself a normal person.”

On the role played by soccer players in general, he bluntly added: “Players have no importance in society. For me, a teacher is important. Teachers try to educate, they try to give values”.

Although he may not fully realize it, the Athletic Club attacker, with more goals for the Basque club than any other team in his career, is a player appreciated by one of the most followed teams in the country. And he offers a timely reminder that some soccer players are pretty relatable.

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