At Real Madrid, the Champions League Can Still Slip Away

Why he was ready to do this can, partly, be gleaned from Real Madrid’s stability sheet. The membership is drowning in debt, behind on its wage invoice — one other six-monthly installment of participant salaries is due on June 30 — and hamstrung by the prices of renovations to its stadium, the Bernabéu. There is a mortgage from Providence, an American hedge fund, to pay again. There are switch charges excellent. Real Madrid, put merely, wanted the cash.

But Pérez’s rationale could be seen, too, in the id of these groups hoping to beat Real Madrid to the Champions League trophy in Istanbul subsequent month: Chelsea, underwritten by the non-public wealth of a Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich; Manchester City, was a contender by its state backers in Abu Dhabi; Paris St.-Germain, the group that purchased Neymar, financed by Qatar.

This is the new world order that Pérez has lengthy feared, coming to go. He is aware of that Real Madrid can’t compete for sources with these groups, irrespective of how usually the Spanish authorities agrees to purchase its coaching facility. It solely has so many coaching services to promote, in spite of everything, and apart from, in a world wherein P.S.G. will pay $258 million for Neymar — a price paid, to some extent, with the particular purpose of distorting the switch market — even that is probably not sufficient.

It is tough to have an excessive amount of sympathy. “They have to control costs, not increase income,” Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, stated final week. It was a smart sentiment; if Real Madrid, like Barcelona, can’t pay the salaries or the switch charges of Europe’s rising powers, then they need to lower their fabric accordingly.

Both golf equipment have frittered away a whole lot of tens of millions of euros on poor signings and inflated salaries; neither has the kind of coherent imaginative and prescient for his or her future that Manchester City, say, has rigorously (and expensively) nurtured. Their disaster is in no small a part of their very own making. They might begin once more, belief in youth, run themselves extra sustainably, and nonetheless get pleasure from the huge benefits conferred on them by their revenues.

But that, at Real Madrid, is simpler stated than carried out. It shouldn’t be a membership that may settle for second greatest. Pérez is aware of that the continued reputation of his presidency rests on his means to ship “a time of total glory,” as he stated in the aftermath of the membership’s 13th Champions League trophy, now three years previous.

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