🇵🇹 The Portuguese forward has signed a seven-year contract with our club 🙌
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) July 3, 2019
Continuity from season to season is something of a novelty in soccer. That state of affairs in the beautiful game makes multi-year contracts handed out to players and coaches look even more ridiculous.
Yet clubs persist in tying their staff down for the long haul. Players honouring the deals they struck with a team is about as likely as Leicester City winning the Premier League title again.
Here are 4 crazy long contracts handed out in the world of soccer.
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid, seven years):
Handing out lengthy deals has become something of an Atletico Madrid hallmark in recent years. In 2017, midfield duo Koke and Saul Niguez put pen to paper on seven and nine-year contracts respectively.
Under manager Diego Simeone, in place since the end of 2010, Atleti has known more stability than most Spanish soccer clubs ever enjoy. Their capture of Portuguese wonderkid Joao Felix this past summer was something of a coup.
If he really lives up to his billing as ‘the next Cristiano Ronaldo’, then it’s hard to see this precocious teenage talent remaining at Atletico for the full seven-year deal he signed on joining from Benfica.
The stable environment in which Joao Felix makes his hotly anticipated debut La Liga campaign at Atleti means they’re worthy 1.50 favourites with No Account Bet in the without Real Madrid and Barcelona market.
Alan Pardew (Newcastle United, eight years):
If you thought Joao Felix was tied up for a long while, then consider this. The eight-year contract maligned Newcastle United chief Mike Ashley gave to then-manager Alan Pardew in September 2012 still hasn’t expired at the time of writing.
Three permanent Magpies bosses later and Pardew has since coached two other Premier League clubs. When he left Newcastle for Crystal Palace over New Year 2015, he still had five-and-a-half years of his deal still to run.
You can’t help but applaud his agent for negotiating such an incredible deal despite the world of coaching being so fickle. Newcastle are tipped to struggle under Steve Bruce this season and are 2.85 for relegation.
Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao, nine years):
Because you are a lion… 🦁
… and because this is your home 🏠
— Athletic Club (@Athletic_en) August 12, 2019
The approach to signing players at Athletic Bilbao is somewhat unique. You have to be born in the Basque Country area of Spain or have roots there in order to play for the club.
That breeds an unusual sense of community. Even if there is an exceptional amount of loyalty by soccer standards at Bilbao, Inaki Williams has signed the length of what could be his entire career away to them.
A nine-year deal handed to the forward recently ties the 25-year-old down to Bilbao until he’s 34. Will Williams see it out? He’s more likely than most given the culture of his club.
Denilson (Real Betis, ten years):
Turn the clock back to 1998, and Real Betis smashed the then-world record transfer fee for a player in signing Denilson down for a decade. Seriously, they handed the Brazil winger a ten-year deal in Seville.
After their relegation from La Liga a couple of years later, it was always unlikely that Denilson would see the commitment through. He even left Betis to return to his homeland on loan at Flamengo.
Betis bounced back, however, and earned immediate promotion so, the following season, Denilson returned to La Liga. He would then help Brazil with a record fifth World Cup in 2002.
Nine different coaches came and went from Betis in the seven years Denilson was on the club’s books. He fell three years short of the decade-long service he should’ve provided when leaving for good and joining Bordeaux in the summer of 2005.