Bad news for any crazed sporting geniuses
planning to buy a premiership. The outgoing president of Real Madrid, the
richest football club in the world, says the theory of buying success with a
large chequebook doesn’t work.

Sure, the management of Chelsea might
disagree, but Florentino Perez exits his role as head of Spain’s
most famous club without much bang for an awful lot of bucks. The team hasn’t
won a major trophy for three years and is on the slide again this season.

Once called “a superior being” by a Real
vice-president, Perez has left the club after an extraordinary board meeting,
to be replaced by Fernando Martin, a former club vice-president. Two dud
results by Perez’s collection of “galacticos” (huge stars) sealed his fate,
with Real Madrid falling 2-1 at
Real Mallorca and 1-0 at home to Arsenal in the Champions League.

Perez didn’t so much fall on his sword as
give himself multiple stab wounds, even admitting he had hurt the club with his
pampering of imported stars, such as English captain David Beckham, Frenchman Zinedine Zidane, Brazilian Ronaldo
and Portugal’s Luis Figo. “We have designed a
squad which combines the world’s best players. Maybe I have spoiled them and
that lies at the root of their confusion,” he said. “I am sure I have
committed a lot of mistakes. That’s why I think that a change in the club’s
presidency will be positive and it will get a few of the players unstuck. It’s
not the players’ fault but mine.”

The Guardian‘s Sid Lowe certainly doesn’t disagree with Perez’s
view of the Real world, writing: “The
emperor with the new clothes finally realised his nakedness last night.
Florentino Perez, the architect of the galactico, football’s greatest romantic
or perhaps its greatest cynic, has departed Real Madrid after almost six years
of triumphalism. He has at last recognised that, amid the successes, the club’s
failings were his too; that the wondrous football team he wore so proudly
simply did not exist. … Sure, Madrid have increased income enormously, but how many
fans gather to celebrate a great bank balance?” Ouch.

Peter Fray

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