Steve McManaman says FFA need to “be open” to change in order for the A-League to eventually be part of the world’s top leagues.
McManaman was in Melbourne this week after playing in a 'legends' game between Liverpool and Manchester United at AAMI Park.
The former Liverpool and Real Madrid star drew similarities between the A-League and United States' MLS, and said money always talks when attracting quality players to build the best teams.
The 45-year-old said he "completely understands” why a salary cap is implemented to keep the game even, but it may have to be scrapped eventually after significant improvement to keep up with Europe.
“In the end, if you’re going to compete at a higher level, you need to grow the league to a certain extent and then it needs to be open to things,” McManaman said.
“In those world tournaments, it’s the European clubs that win all the time.
“Of course that’s going to happen when you’ve got the greatest players on the planet playing over there because of the market force and you can earn more money.
“It’s certainly different, we’re not used to it in England, I don’t think we’ll ever have a salary cap in England but they’re used to it in other countries.
“In the MLS they’ve been lucky because teams have flipped and they’ve had lots of different winners.”
McManaman is best known for his time at Liverpool and Real Madrid but spent his final years at now Premier League giant Manchester City.
City Football Group have brands in Australia, Japan, the US and recently Uruguay, and McManaman knows football has the highest participation rate of all sports down under.
But he believes football could never be the No.1 sport in Australia because of the interest in other codes by the public and mainstream media.
However, the two-time Champions League winner can see what City are trying to do and believes in their vision in trying to improve standards to grow the A-League.
“They’ve won the (FFA) Cup since City Football Group came in, but not the league and it’ll take time,” McManaman said.
“Manchester City have got now four teams across the globe, so they're trying to spread the words which is fine.
“The most important thing is the league continues to grow, it’s not going to grow exponentially like it is in England because the general public like other sports as well.
“It’s like saying the MLS should grow, but when you’ve got the NFL which is the No.1 major sport it’s completely different. In England, our No.1 sport is football by a country mile, so as long as it’s sustainable, the facilities are good and the coaches are good and it grows, that’s all you can offer.
“I know grass roots football here is growing, the numbers are increasing and that’s all you can do – offer them better equipment, better coaches and hope the players can be better and better.”
He also supported NPL Victoria side South Melbourne’s plan in bringing his former teammate Roberto Carlos as head coach should they get inducted to the A-League.
He added: “I keep in touch with Roberto, he’s still an ambassador at Madrid. He seems to have played absolutely everywhere across the world, so why not Australia as well?”