Why he was ready to do this can, partially, 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 identification 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 crew that purchased Neymar, financed by Qatar.

This is the new world order that Pérez has lengthy feared, coming to cross. He is aware of that Real Madrid can’t compete for sources with these groups, irrespective of how typically the Spanish authorities agrees to buy its training facility. It solely has so many coaching amenities to promote, in any case, and in addition to, in a world through which P.S.G. pays $258 million for Neymar — a price paid, to some extent, with the particular purpose of distorting the switch market — even that will not be 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 wise 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 hundreds of thousands of euros on poor signings and inflated salaries; neither has the type of coherent imaginative and prescient for his or her future that Manchester City, say, has fastidiously (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 less complicated stated than completed. It just isn’t a membership that may settle for second greatest. Pérez is aware of that the continued reputation of his presidency rests on his skill 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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