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Why So Many Big-Name Soccer Players Are Going to China

Association football (better known as soccer) is, in case you didn’t already know, the world’s most loved sport. In fact, it’s played by 250 million players in over 200 countries around the globe. For centuries, the game has been especially popular across Europe and the Southern Continents of America; more recently, its popularity has been growing exponentially in the United States and China.

In fact, the latter countries sudden interest in the sport is partly thanks to a government initiative (the Chinese government—more specifically, president Xi Jinping’s government—wants China to become a soccer superpower by 2050). Now, many of the most recognizable names in the world are heading there to begin the next stage of their careers; but what is it that attracts names like Carlos Tevez and Alexandre Pato to a country whose level of playing is arguably still in its infancy?

Money

Well, you guessed it. The first big reason is money. Despite the English Premier League offering some pretty substantial monetary compensation (the EPL has an average salary of somewhere around two and a half million pounds, which converts to well over three million dollars), they can’t offer anywhere near the kind of payment that Chinese clubs are dishing out.

In fact, some of the biggest deals being made between the country’s clubs and foreign players are enough to make grown men weep. Carlos Tevez, who famously had a fantastic run at Manchester United, announced back in December 2016 that he would be making the move to Shaingai Shensua this year. He won’t be short of cash in Shanghai, though, because he’ll be earning around £615,000 each week (that’s $779,000, by the way). It’s thought that his time at Shensua will be the last before he retires, and so it makes sense that he does what makes financial sense for himself.

On the other hand, Brazilian football player Oscar also made the switch to China back at the beginning of the year. Being the once much-hyped wonderkid of Chelsea FC, fans felt somewhat underwhelmed by his performance. He managed to score 38 goals in 203 appearances, but parted with the club mutually and in December last year after they received an offer from Shanghai SIPG.

Oscar is quite a unique case in that – unlike most other big names making the switch to China – he is still only 25 and, relatively speaking, in his prime. However, the club paid £60 million for him, and he is expected to take home somewhere around £350,000 per week.

Little Troubles in Big China

It’s not all honey and milk in the Far East, though. One of the big name transfers was Didier Drogba, the Chelsea star who had a fantastic run at the club before signing to Shenhua (Tevez’s new club) for £200,000 per week. It wouldn’t last long, though, as he would make the move to the Turkish Side, Galatasaray, six months later. It’s easy to think that money like that would keep anyone loyal, but Drogba experienced several challenges while playing for Shenua.

The most notable among them, of course, is trying to drag a mediocre team in a mediocre league up the table. Despite his obvious professionalism and enthusiasm, internal conflict between Zhu Jun (the Chinese multimillionaire who owned 28.5% of the club) and the team’s other owners – partly caused by the size of Drogba’s wages – meant that the Ivorian legend had no other choice but to make the switch to somewhere closer to home.

Magic Money Trees

Because Chinese is a booming economy, there’s a lot of money changing hands among the business elites . However, you may (quite rightly) be wondering how that money ends up being funneled into the Chinese Super League. Corporations around the country are bankrolling the teams with almost unimaginable sums of cash, but why?

While investing in soccer might be a sound investment, there is another somewhat more nefarious reason for businessmen to put their dollars into the sport: government kickbacks. In fact, each of the sixteen Super League teams are owned by separate businesses. It’s thought that—because the government has already been explicitly clear about their initiatives and desire for the sport to grow in the country—businessmen are parting with their cash because it’s a way to appease those in power.

As the value of the league continues to grow, so do rumors of corruption. Players, team officials, and even referees have been caught up in scandals over the years. Many were banned for life, and others were sentenced to jail. In fact, several betting companies refuse to take bets on the league, owing to the ostensible endemic running throughout the sport right now.

Chinese Soccer presents a huge prospect, especially given their obvious dedication to improving as a collective whole for the betterment of their home country. However, it’s still a long way off from matching the level of the sport seen elsewhere in the world. In any case, you can be sure that these big-name signings will continue to happen, so long as the money keeps flowing in like it already has done.

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Top five outfit ideas to wear to Gay Pride

It’s that time of the year again where we celebrate what it means to live and love with complete freedom. There are no stigmas that are attached when it comes to love. Whether you are heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual or anything else that is in between, Gay pride is the perfect occasion to show off who you are as a person. The real question is, what are you going to be wearing to gay pride to show off your true colours? Here are some of our own suggestions to get your creativity flowing so your outfit looks STUNNING for the parade. 

  1. RAINBOWS!

Of course, if you are going to pride you need to have some rainbows somewhere on your body. It doesn’t matter who you are, you could be a high-end lawyer, a homemaker or even one of the hottest Covent Gardens escorts in the entire world, love is love and the rainbow flag captures the freedom to express our sexualities perfectly.

So, you may be wondering how you can incorporate the rainbow flag into your outfit. Some people just choose to wear it around their necks as a cape or just have it tied around the waist as a sash. However, if you are feeling creative, and want to get your glam on, you can take the flag to a whole new level. Paint it on yourself, and don’t forget to add some sparkle spray to it. Heck, you could even use temporary dye to start colouring your hair into a rainbow pattern.

Now, everyone knows that Pride can be quite a boisterous event, so it’s important that you dress for the event. You need fabrics that are cool that give your body enough room to breathe. If you’re looking for a great way to remain cool, whilst also incorporating the flag into your look, why not buy a large rainbow tutu or some rainbow high-rise shorts. There are even trainers or sandals that incorporate the rainbow flag.

Basically, the sky is the limit when it comes to showing off the pride flag. Just try to think creatively and you will fit in perfectly. 

  1. Sparkles and Gemstones

Whether you’re in the parade or just want to stand at the sidelines, there is nothing wrong with adding a little extra glamour to your outfit. It’s going to be hot walking around all day admiring the events, so you need to make sure that your outfit not only sparkles like mad, but it makes you feel comfortable. If you’re feeling confident then why not just stick to a bikini that glitters with gemstones and sparkles. That way you can use it for dancing the night away.

Better yet, why not use the gemstone trend and stick them on your chest? Most of the gemstones come in multicolours and you can also get glitter roll-on sticks that you can use to sparkle up your body. Pride is about showing yourself off, so it’s a perfect time to show a little skin! Some paints even come in glitter forms, so feel free to add some up to bring a little sparkle to your pride look.

  1. Simple but Chic

Of course, you are also more than welcome to wear comfortable clothing on Pride. Lots of people will be dressing up, but it’s really more important that you just do whatever makes you feel happiest, especially if you do tend to feel a little shy at times. Don’t be scared to just turn up in jeans and a pride related t-shirt. Some people literally have gay slogans on their t-shirt or use their outfits to show support for their friends and loved ones. If you a gay or heterosexual ally of the community then feel free to express it. It’s important that you use pride as an event to stick up for the people you love and care about. As a heterosexual/ cis person then you should be ready to stand up and show that you support the community and the idea of autonomy of sexuality and love.

  1. Go skimpy!

If there is any time to show off a bit of flesh then now is the time. Lots of people go to Pride in a bikini and shorts, just their underwear or even in leather. This is to show that they are not ashamed of their bodies and to reinforce that love is love. It does not matter who they choose to give their bodies to. What matters is that they are happy. The main idea is to be flamboyant and to make the message of pride heard. If that means that you want to show off your skin then so be it. Just have fun! However, if you want to add an extra layer of sass to your look, a large fluffy jacket is the perfect thing to give you a touch of glamour. 

  1. Drag it up

Drag queens and faux queens alike. Now is the perfect time to be yourself. Whether you want to wear a rainbow-inspired ball gown or choose to sit in the parade in a giant cocktail dress, it’s time to let your creativity shine and DRAG. IT.UP. Bigger is always beautiful, darling. There’s it’s time to get out your makeup kit and give yourself a brand new look. Try to think of a theme and then have fun with it. Whether you want to be a pretty princess, a sci-fi warrior or just dress up as someone from your favourite LGBTQ+ anime, GO FOR IT!

What are you wearing for Pride?

At the end end of the day, it’s important to wear something that expresses who you are as a person. Don’t just hideaway. Use the festival as a way to allow yourself to shine and just let go. It’s a great day out and will bring you confidence that you may have never thought you had. Just make sure that you have an outfit that can express exactly who you are.

5 Time-Tested Strategies for Financial Success

Financial Success

There are no short cuts to achieving financial success. To build, preserve and expand wealth that lasts you a lifetime, you must follow some proven principles. Here, we’ve compiled a list of 5 of the essential strategies you should make a part of your financial short and long-term plan to help you build your own financial success.

1. Set up a brokerage account

As soon as you’ve opened a bank account and signed up for your company’s retirement savings programme, jump on the next stage of smart wealth building by setting up a brokerage account. With it, you will be able to invest in stocks of different companies, no-transaction-fee mutual funds, as well as exchange-traded funds, which most people can’t access with their 401(k). 

To give you a quick guideline, opening an account with an online broker, Fidelity requires you to start with a deposit of $2,500; while at Charles Schwab, you’ll need only $1,000, which is not compulsory if you signed up for automatic monthly deductions of $100 or more from your account. For better money management and investment planning, it’s advised you go with a debit card that helps you with that goal in addition to making transactions convenient. 

2. Ensure your investing costs are at a minimal level 

Generally, less expenditure means more money in your account. As a fund investor, focus on ETFs and mutual funds with low expense ratios. As we already pointed out, the first thing to do is to register with a reputable online broker such as Fidelity or Charles Schwab so you can buy and sell stocks averaging $7 per trade. Besides, there are top discounters that allow you to trade select ETFs without requiring sales fees. Seriously consider index funds, especially those that track S&P 500, with estimated annual fees of 0.05%. Funds like Mairs & Power Growth (MPGFX) and Dodge & Cox Stock (DODGX) are recommended as they are top low-cost actively managed funds. 

If you have a fund manager, you’ll probably pay an annual consultation fee of 1%; but you can always negotiate for a lower fee. Another option is to go digital with an AI adviser, which can help manage your stock portfolio by using digital technology. An example is Wealthfront, which will not charge you a management fee if your balance is less than $10,000 and requires you to pay only 0.25% per annum for sums above that. You may also check Betterment, which levies just 0.25% of assets under management yearly. 

3. Diversify your investment 

Spreading out your investment with a variety of good value stocks and bonds can help you weather the storms of volatile periods and enhance your long-term ROI outlook. If, for example, your retirement is at least ten years away, keep 70% of your investments in stocks and put 30% in top-quality bonds. Mutual funds are good great for you too. For example, mutual fund managers, Vanguard Wellington (VWELX) keeps two-thirds of investments in stocks, as a principle, and the rest in bonds; and it has maintained a yearly return of 8.2% over the past 20 years. 

4. Rebalance, retarget and realign as necessary 

It’s important you get regularly balance your portfolio up for better overall performance. Move your investment assets around sometimes, divesting some funds off the ones performing well and shoring up the laggards to get a good mix. Always review your brokerage statements at least twice a year to see where your portfolio needs some rebalancing, retargeting or realignment and then go on to make the necessary trades. 

5. Adjust your investments

As your countdown to your retirement, your target should be an investment portfolio that gives you a good return that can stand the tide of inflation and also minimises your risk.  A spread of 50% stocks, 40% bonds and 5% cash is a nice mix that can help you achieve that goal. A mix of 60% stocks and 40% bonds and cash will likely give more growth; but if your risk threshold is less, then try a mix of 60% bonds and cash and 40% stocks.