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Rio Ferdinand: Footballers are overpaid compared to soldiers

The Manchester United star and Goal Rich List entrant discusses player wealth, David Beckham, charity work and giving the right advice to young teammates.

Manchester United star and Goal Rich List entrant Rio Ferdinandbelieves footballers are overpaid compared to members of the armed forces. 

Speaking exclusively to Goal.com, the defender, who ranks No.10 in our definitive index of the world’s wealthiest footballers, admitted that people in other professions are more worthy of the kind of riches available to players in the modern era.

"Are we overpaid compared to the public service people? The army that serve our country? I'd say definitely," said Ferdinand. "But we don't get paid as much as athletes from a lot of other sports - the golfers, tennis players, basketball players, the baseball stars, they get paid ridiculous money compared to what we get paid.

"But I'm not complaining. We get a great rate for what we do and I'd play football for nothing. I'd still be playing football now if I wasn't getting paid, so I'm just very fortunate."

Ferdinand, 34, believes his former teammate David Beckham, who tops the Goal Rich List with a 175 million pound fortune, has shown how a knack for business can maximize a player’s earning potential.

"I think he's a great advert for how you handle your image, in terms of if you want to go down that road of being in the media all time, and in the papers and in the magazines and stuff,” said Ferdinand. 

"It looks like the perfect way, because he's always on the front pages if he does anything, he's in the magazines when he wants to be. It's just whether you want to do that and want to be like that. You've got him on one hand and you've got Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs on the other, and they chose the other way. Giggsy could still go in a magazine if he wanted to, and do stuff, but he tries not to do that, and I'm sure your list reflects that."

Ferdinand also has plenty of interests outside the game which have helped him to amass his personal fortune.

"I've always been interested in business, and never really sitting inside one box. Ever since I was a kid I've done things a little bit different[ly] to my peers," he said.

"Football has always been my number one passion and always will be, but to keep my mind off being in the doldrums sometimes after games etc. I keep my mind busy by doing business stuff. I've got my magazine, the digital No.5 Magazine, which has been voted the best online lifestyle magazine, my restaurant and obviously my No.5 clothing brand that's taking off at the moment and doing really well."

Ferdinand’s 42 million pound fortune puts him in among the 10 richest footballers playing the game today, but he is quick to point out that players have their ways of putting something back into their communities.

"I think it's imperative we give back," he went one. "Ninety nine percent of footballers do stuff for their charities, whether it be their local charities or through the clubs. My charity, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, is really close to my heart in helping young kids and we've had a couple of thousand kids go through the courses that we provide to give them a chance to get on in life, to attain qualifications and to give them a foothold in some sort of business or education."

The 81-cap defender places a lot of stock in the advice shared between footballers for the masses of cash earned in the modern era.

"I've got a financial adviser who looks after my finances, but you've got to take a full interest in it. When my adviser's got anything to talk to me about - tax situations and different investments - I like to have a good thorough look through it and knowledge of what is going on before I commit to it, so that's the kind of information that I do pass on."

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