What do you get when you throw together a truck driver, cleaner, zoology student and a collection of other part-time Kiwi footballers?

In the case of Auckland City FC, you get a multimillion-dollar-earning, world-conquering club football team.

Read more: How did Auckland City do it? And What does it say about New Zealand's local league standard?

Auckland, whose starting XI also includes a retail assistant, some junior coaches and a sports shop owner, have stunned the footballing world and earned $2.57 million in prizemoney by booking a spot in the Fifa Club World Cup semifinals.


It's a mindboggling situation when they're compared to Spanish giants Real Madrid, who will feature in the second semifinal in Morocco.

Real Madrid contain the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, last year's winner of the Ballon d'Or as the world's player of the year who is estimated to take home more than $100 million in overall earnings this year, Gareth Bale, who was subject to a world record 85 million ($171 million) transfer fee last year, and Iker Casillas, acknowledged as the world's best-paid goalkeeper.

Auckland's tournament earnings still have room to grow, should they somehow topple Argentine giants San Lorenzo in tomorrow morning's semifinal.

A win would see the Oceania champions double their prizemoney, effectively making their semifinal a $2.57 million, winner-take-all clash.

It could also open the door for a fairytale final against European Champions Real Madrid, who face Mexico's Cruz Azul in the other semifinal, with $6.43 million reserved for the Club World Cup champions.

About 50 per cent of Auckland's windfall will go to the franchise and the other half gets split among the ASB Premiership's other franchises.

16 Dec, 2014 8:11am
3 minutes to read

The Auckland players are expected to pocket between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the club's share depending on how many games they played in qualifying and at the Club World Cup. It could be about $30,000 for some.

Regardless, it's good reward for the squad of 23, most of whom had to take extended leave from their day jobs.

Defender Mario Billen received a text after Auckland's 1-0 quarter-final win over Algerian Champions ES Setif, saying, "great game. You're sacked. Signed: your boss."

Happily for him, the text was just a joke played on him by teammates.

"Billen works in the construction industry and we're all going to have to stay on here more time than we expected," Auckland's Argentine forward, Emiliano Tade, told Fifa.com.

Starting XI

Tamati Williams (NZ) - Zoology student
Ivan Vicelich (NZ) - Owns Playmaker Sports
Marko Dordevic (Serbia) - Unemployed
Mario Bilen (Croatia)- Construction
Fabrizio Tavano (Mexico) - Unemployed
Takuya Iwata (Japan) - Delivery truck driver and kids coach
Ryan De Vries (New Zealand) - Recalibrates Japanese imported cars for New Zealand road conditions
Emiliano Tade(Argentina) - Retail assistant and coach
Angel Berlanga (Spain) - Coaches grassroots and youth football at primary and intermediate schools.
Tim Payne (New Zealand) - Coaches grassroots and youth football at primary and intermediate schools.
John Irving (England) - Coaches grassroots and youth football at primary and intermediate schools.

Jacob Spoonley (New Zealand) - lawyer
James Pritchett (New Zealand) - Owner/operator Playball Sports
Andrew Milne (New Zealand) - Works for Playball Sports
Darren White(New Zealand) - Salesman
David Browne (Papua New Guinea)- Building Labourer
Sam Burfoot (England) - Building Labourer
Cam Lindsay (New Zealand) - Lion Breweries