Football News

Alex Song admits he was happy sitting on the Barcelona bench because he was a millionaire

By Ben Green

Published: 14:50, 18 January 2022

Alex Song has confessed he was more than happy to play a bit-part role at Barcelona because of his lucrative wage package.

The 34-year-old rose to prominence at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger having hailed from the Bastia academy, moving to north London in 2005.

Under the revered French coach, Song established himself as one of the most talented, all-action midfielders in the Premier League, featuring over 200 times for the Gunners.

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His final season at the Emirates in 2011/12 saw him become something of an assist merchant, with the 49-time Cameroon international forming a near-telepathic understanding with Robin van Persie, as the duo linked up to produce some outrageous goals.

At this time, Barcelona were trying to get to grips with life post-Pep Guardiola, and Tito Vilanova made just two signings in his maiden campaign at the Camp Nou: Jordi Alba from Valencia and Song from Arsenal.

The midfield enforcer spent four years in Catalonia but most of that time was spent either out on loan at West Ham or warming the Camp Nou bench, though that certainly didn’t bother him as he was earning a handsome salary.

“When Barcelona offered me a contract, and I saw how much I would earn, I didn’t think twice,” he told Toronto Raptors basketball star Pascal Siakam on Instagram.

“I felt my wife and children should have comfortable lives once my career is over.

“I met Barca’s sporting director, and he told me I would not get to play many games.

“But I didn’t give a f*** – I knew that now I would become a millionaire.”

Song also went into detail about his move to Arsenal, talking about how he wanted to progress as a footballer so he could one day buy a car like Thierry Henry’s.

He added: “Most footballers live beyond their means. I was at Arsenal for eight years but only began to earn a good living in the last four.

“That was because my salary went up a lot – but also because I came to realise what a waster I was.

“When I first joined them I was getting £15,000 a week. I was a young lad, and I was ecstatic.

“I wanted to rub shoulders with the big boys. I could shop wherever I wanted and have crazy nights out.

“I would go to training and see Thierry Henry – the King – turn up in an absolute gem of a car. I told myself I wanted the same car at all costs.

“I went to the dealership, signed the papers and arranged to pay for it by standing order – and just like that I had the same car as The King.

“But I swear that I had to hand the car back inside two months. All my money was going on filling it with petrol.

“I told them: ‘Give me a Toyota – this car’s too much for me.’

“When I next went to training Thierry asked me: ‘Where’s your car, son?’ I told him it’s on a higher level than me.

“During my entire time at Arsenal I couldn’t even save £100,000, while people thought I must be a millionaire.”

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