Thanks to the deep pockets of PSG's owners, there's been a fair bit of talk about bonuses ahead of tonight's Champions League Round of 16 second leg tie at Stamford Bridge. The visitors, to a man, stand to earn €250,000 each* should they progress into the quarterfinals. Apparently even highly paid athletes can be motivated by the promise of an extra week or two's worth of paychecks.
* Their Champions League bonuses, according to Le Parisien, break down as such: €100k for reaching the knockout rounds (already earned), plus €150k for reaching the quarters; plus €200k for reaching the semis; plus €250k for reaching the final; plus €300k (i.e. €1m total) for winning the whole thing.
Jose Mourinho was of course asked about this in yesterday's press conference, and with the Chelsea manager being in an extra chirpy, playful, even trollish mood, he made his position known in no uncertain terms.
"You know, for a long, long, long time, I don't have bonuses. I just have bonuses to win competitions. So I forgot that feeling. I had that feeling, but the last time was at Porto. I never had a bonus [like that] again and I don't think we should."
"The club pay us a very good salary to do our job the best we can. We do that job as best we can. If we take the club into quarterfinals, semifinals, finals, but we don't win the competition, we are doing a very good job for the club financially but I don't think we should get extra money, on top of our salaries, if we don't win the last prize."
"It's nice I think if somebody puts on the table 250,000 euros or pounds to win a certain match, it's nice. But I think professionalism goes above and beyond that.''
Granted, Mourinho is one of the highest paid managers -- if not the highest paid manager -- in football, and he manages a squad that represents one of the highest wage bills in all of football (just like PSG), so he's speaking from a position of power and luxury on this issue. And for all we know, the bonuses paid out by Chelsea for winning the Champions League are comparable or perhaps even greater than €1m. But the crucial difference is that our players and staff only get paid at the end, and only if they win. Quarterfinals don't pay out. Semifinals, and losing finals don't either. Win or go home. No partial credit.
Mourinho, who just recently spoke of how he needs to feed himself with a steady diet of trophies, wasn't done.
"Football is about our passion for the game, the happiness and the pride of victories. They have no price."