Former Germany striker Oliver Bierhoff believes too many average footballers are picking up princely salaries for it to be sustainable.
Oliver Bierhoff has thrown his support behind the idea of a wage cap as football faces up to a financial crisis.
The former Germany striker warned time is up for the era that has seen top-flight footballers in Europe's top leagues securing huge contracts as a matter of course.
Since the coronavirus pandemic forced football to be widely suspended in March, clubs and leagues have warned of the impact of inactivity.
And even though many leagues are slowly restarting, behind-closed-doors games mean matchday revenue has been lost.
Bierhoff spoke of a "mass of mediocrity" within the leagues, and said such average footballers would have to accept they are not entitled to spectacular salaries.
"It has come to the time when many are ready to at least discuss it – even those who were not before the crisis," he told t-online.de. "Especially from the biggest clubs in Spain, England and France."
Bierhoff, now a director of the German Football Association (DFB) said he would support salary limits that were "legally feasible and if we think about it together across Europe".
Football authorities are battling to protect the vital revenue stream of broadcasting deals, which have been the lifeblood of the game, allowing teams to finance an abundance of seven-figure salaries.
Bierhoff said: "I don't think that the top earners for fans are the problem – as paradoxical as it sounds. [Lionel] Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Jo[shua] Kimmich aren't the problem. The problem is the mass of mediocrity that swims in their wake and and are, in quote marks, 'overpaid'."
He added: "An average Bundesliga professional will have to expect that he will soon be offered less by his club."