Wayne Rooney received surprise support when the British politician Ed Balls insisted the Manchester United striker deserves his new 300,000-pounds-a-week contract, which will be worth 86 million pounds by the time it expires in 2019.
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Balls, a former Labour Party Cabinet minister, is the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and a fierce critic of executive pay and bankers’ bonuses.
But the Norwich City supporter said Rooney’s ability justifies his lucrative new deal.
Balls told the BBC: “Wayne Rooney gets paid more a week than all of us, certainly me, get paid in a year.
“On the other hand, I guess there’s only one Wayne Rooney and he plays for Manchester United. He could go anywhere in the world and maybe that’s genuinely the talent getting pay.”
Rooney’s new contract is the biggest ever awarded by an English club but Balls said he was more critical of the decisions to pay bankers excessive sums than footballers’ earnings.
He explained: "I think in some parts of our economy -- when it's not a great idea or when it's not the talent of Wayne Rooney -- then you do think to yourself these massive multi-million pound salaries, it feels like a bit of a Ponzi scheme.
“You’ve got all these bankers -- when they get asked why they get paid millions of pounds they say: ‘Well, because everybody else does’.
“At that point people should say let’s stop this merry-go-round and get back to rationality.”
Balls, an advocate taxing big earners more heavily, is in favour of bringing back a top rate of 50 percent tax if Labour, who were in office from 1997 to 2010, regain power at Britain’s next general election. It could cost Rooney an extra 15,000 pounds per week.