A quarter of a billion euros doesn’t get you much these days…

March 11, 2010

SOCCER/Uncomfortable questions are being asked about Real Madrid’s policy of forking out a quarter of a billion euros on players following their shock elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Olympique Lyon on Wednesday.

Florentino Perez returned for a second term as president pledging to end Real’s five-year run of failure in Europe’s elite club competition but the nine-times European champions’ dream of a 10th triumph in May’s final at their Bernabeu stadium was shattered by the French side.

The construction magnate spent a record 94 million euros to bring Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United and 67 million on Brazilian playmaker Kaka but neither were able to step up on Wednesday when it really counted.

The Spanish papers were severely critical of Perez on Thursday, dubbing his project a “galactic failure” and accusing him of focusing too much on glamour and spectacle at the expense of sporting success.

Real were humiliated by third-tier Alcorcon in the King’s Cup in November and the domestic league is their only remaining chance of silverware this season.

“You don’t buy titles, you win them,” columnist Jose Samano wrote in daily El Pais. “When the ball is in play it’s the business of the players and Hollywood-style theatre is irrelevant,” he added. “Everything is possible in sport except for those who consider the pitch a stock market.”

Orfeo Suarez said in El Mundo: “The catastrophe suffered by this pharaonic Madrid team is as if an earthquake had destroyed the Valley of the Kings.

“Watching the competition to which they owe their legend from the sidelines will be their penitence and torment.”

It remains to be seen what financial impact the latest Champions League failure will have on Real, the world’s richest club by revenue.

They will miss out on around 16 million euros they would have got from UEFA for winning the final but will also save a considerable amount in player win bonuses.

Francesc Pujol, a professor of economics at the University of Navarra, said in a recent study on media brand value that Real’s huge outlay on players last summer would help them earn them more from commercial activities such as marketing and merchandise.

However, he warned that the initial boost would only be maintained if Real were successful in the Champions League.

Perez, who walked away from the club once already in 2006, now faces a stark choice: stick with the current crop of players and coach Manuel Pellegrini in the hope they will produce next season or take the club deeper into debt by splashing out millions more.

PHOTO: Real Madrid president Florentino Perez arrives at Mother Teresa airport, near Tirana January 20, 2010. REUTERS/Arben Celi.

4 comments

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I am not a Real Madrid Fan but I am a football lover and most of all I love the Red Devils more than anything else in this world. We are being unfair towards Madrid. We got to also note the comments towards the Manager is also absurd. Dont forget what he had done in Villareal. Everyteam takes time. It cannot be build in a day. They are players who come from different background and different cultures. Just because they lost a match and at time’s were also unlucky you should say all their decisions were wrong. Madrid elected Perez because he promised to build a team to bring back the glory days. But if it was possible to just buy a team and win…. then everyone would do that. Even Alex Ferguson is given the stick by the fans when Man U loses. Those who do that dont understand football….they think this is a movie and it will always be happy ending. Even a movie takes 2 hours to become a complete story….

Posted by Joyuni | Report as abusive

It’s great for football that a team cannot buy trophies in this way.
RM fans soak up the propaganda sold by the club and Perez, stoked by the ‘friendly’ local media with its talk of a treble of trophies etc, but if they don’t deliver quickly they will be hoisted by their own petard.
It will be interesting to see if Madrid hold their nerve and give Pellegrini time, but the pressure from fans with stars in their eyes may prove too powerful….especially if two of their traditional enemies Barcelona and Atletico Madrid lift European Cup and the King’s Cup in the Bernabeu this May

Posted by Moosejaw | Report as abusive

I don’t think there should be any panic. They had enough chances to win on Wednesday against a still decent Lyon side. Fiorentina deserved to beat Bayern too but didn’t, that’s football.
if Real win La Liga and Wenger and Mourinho are not available, Pellegrini could well stay. If they nab Ribery in the summer and maybe Villa then it’s sorted

Posted by MarkMeadows | Report as abusive

Real need Jose Mourinho as coach.

Posted by Dormation | Report as abusive