Manchester United's Juan Mata: Footballers earn a ridiculous amount
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has said he would take a pay cut if football was less of a business, admitting that he earns an "obscene" amount.
Mata said it "scares" him when he considers what a protected lifestyle he is able to lead in comparison to his friends.
And he sympathised with fans, saying modern football is nothing like it was in years gone by.
Speaking on Spanish news show Salvados, he said: "I can understand what they [the fans] are referencing.
"In the business of football, it seems the owners are more important than the supporters. It is nothing like the football of old, where there was not such a media involvement or people with so many vested interests.
"I don't enjoy the business side of football. I love the game, I love training and competing. I'd happily take a pay cut if there was less business involvement in the sport.
"At this level we're very well paid, and sometimes you get to thinking that there really isn't much of a difference between 'X' and 'X+3'.
"My first professional contract was at Real Madrid Castilla. I was 18 years old and I think I earned something like €90,000 a year.
"Football is very well remunerated at this level. It's like we live in a bubble. With respect to the rest of society, we earn a ridiculous amount. It's unfathomable."
Mata said he earned a "normal wage" in the world of football, but "compared to 99.9 percent of Spain and the rest of the world, I earn an obscene amount."
He added: "Real life is the one my friends live. They've had to look for work, sign on to the dole and emigrate. That's normal life now.
"My life as a footballer is not normal. It scares me sometimes to think about just how protected I am. The smallest problem and someone will come and fix it for me. That's one of the aspects in which we don't live a normal life."
Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.