David Alaba’s wages at Real Madrid: Has the CB been worth the money?

Real Madrid, David Alaba (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, David Alaba (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid signed David Alaba from Bayern Munich on a free transfer in the summer of 2021. Alaba chose to not re-sign with Bayern, having spent the majority of his career playing for the German champions, winning a host of titles in the process. He wanted a new challenge, and had always fancied playing for Real Madrid when he was younger, so according to him, the next step was a no-brainer.

His transfer didn’t involve a fee, but it still can’t be called a “free” transfer. It cost Real a lot of money to bring him in. According to MARCA via Die Spegel, he received a 17.7 million euro signing bonus, while his father received 6.3 million euros. Alaba’s agent, Pini Zahavi, received a commission of 5.2 million euros. You can call this anything but free, in my opinion.

So, how much does Alaba actually earn per annum and has he been worth the money so far?

David Alaba makes around 12 million euros per year at Real Madrid

The above-mentioned MARCA report states that Alaba earns around 20 million euros per season, with an astonishing release clause 850 million euros. However, it could just be the income before tax as there are other reports that talk about his salary, and most of them go around the figure of 12 million euros. Fabrizio Romano stated in April that David Alaba will earn 12 million euros net per year. Florian Plettenberg of SPORT1 also says that the Austrian earns 12.5 million euros net per year.

If we take it as 12-12.5 million euros per year, has Alaba been worth the money? The answer is yes. Yes, he has.

He’s easily been not only Real Madrid’s best signing of the season, but you can say the same about La Liga in general as well. In fact, I can make a solid argument about Alaba being the signing of the season for any club, that’s how good he’s been.

He has formed a brilliant centre-back partnership with Eder Militao and it just continues to get better after every game. They complement each other perfectly. Militao is a bit more aggressive while Alaba is calm and is a brilliant option to have when opposition teams turn their pressing up a notch. He helps Mendy and Casemiro whenever they’re being pressed, and is in turn helped by the former whenever Alaba feels like going into the attacking third.

The Austrian has formed a brilliant co-dependent partnership with Toni Kroos and their passing has just been phenomenal this season, especially through the press, and I have reason to believe that we haven’t even seen the best of his passing ability yet. His press-resistance will continue to pay dividends and I’m sure Alaba will continue to improve as a player. Moreover, his offensive capabilities add another dimension to Real Madrid’s attack whenever it is needed.

The only aspect Alaba hasn’t been particularly great with this season is when he has to defend crosses and in aerial duels. He’s not the tallest defender around, and he hasn’t even been bad at it, but that part of his game makes him depend on Militao to sniff out danger when Real Madrid are facing more crosses. Alaba only averages 0.77 aerial duels won out of 1.42, which is a 54.2% completion rate, while Militao boasts a 73.8% completion rate on 3.61 attempts per game. Again, it’s not particularly his fault, but that’s one small downside if you really want to see one.

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Apart from that, he’s been incredible, and the best part is that he’s in his peak, so he will continue to give out these numbers for at least another couple of seasons before maybe starting to slowly decline. All in all, I had my doubts at the start, but I have simply been blown away by this man’s performances week in, week out. More of this next year, David.