I’m so earnest about futbol, I could be a staff writer for Marca.

An Associated Press writer said this week that David Beckham’s departure from Spanish football club Real Madrid will mark the end of the Florentino Perez era. Perez devoted himself to buying the most expensive and popular players in the world so Real Madrid would turn into a global brand. In successive years, he purchased Luis Figo (£38.7m), Zinedine Zidane (£44m), Ronaldo (£26m), and David Beckham (£25m). These players sold a lot of jerseys, but they were too old and satisfied to give their all on the pitch. Since Beckham joined in 2003, each Real team has been an expensive catastrophe with no trophies to its credit.

It would be easy to compare the former Madrid GM to George Steinbrenner, but I think a historical comparison is more apt: Florentino Perez is King Felipe II. Perez, like the Spanish royalty, would have benefited from Machiavelli’s caution against using mercenaries for domestic battles. Madrid’s bankroll, like all Spanish treasuries, is deceptive; yes, the team is the richest by revenue in the world, but it is also constantly in debt. His Real Madrid, dubbed the “Galácticos” (Stars), first in praise and then in mockery, was the Invincible Armada. (Luckily, the only Madrileños who die during football season are the ones who bet the house on Atletico – or worse, the national team.)

Luckily, Perez is gone now, as are Figo, Zidane, and Ronaldo. The new management is still obnoxious and corrupt, but it is more competent. The team returned to first place for the first time in two years, and it has my support, for Madrid is my city now and forever. ¡Vaya Liga!

Explore posts in the same categories: Spain, Sports

2 Comments on “I’m so earnest about futbol, I could be a staff writer for Marca.”

  1. naxself Says:

    Two years later, Perez is back… what’s your opinion? Good post!

    And come check out my blog: http://spotkicks.wordpress.com/

    • jsmyth Says:

      Hahaha, interesting to see this post again two years out. Perez made Calderon look like a fool by delivering Ronaldo and Kaka inside a week after Calderon had promised them for two years. But I didn’t like that Calderon was promising those guys because I think the galactico policy shows a dearth of imagination. It says “we can’t evaluate talent for ourselves, so we’re going to pay top dollar for the guys who have already proved they’re the best.” Mijatovic was only an average GM. Ramon Calderon did deliver two Ligas, and this year’s team was good, too, but he didn’t develop the youth system enough for my liking, and he was a crook.

      But I’m coming to realize that this is Real’s culture. They don’t have the talent in the front office – maybe things are too political up there – so they’ll just buy everything they can. Given that several of the major clubs, not to mention the governments of the world and especially the United States, are doing business this way now, maybe that’s not so bad. No one can repay their debts. The word has almost lost its meaning. Maybe the bill will come in, and maybe it won’t.

      In Perez’s defense, he writes the contracts to channel lots of advertising money to Real, so maybe he’ll actually make money on this.

      And it was so sad to hear Kaka say that he was going to Real Madrid in order to help AC Milan pay off their own debts. It was like a peasant agreeing to be sold as a concubine to the king so that her husband and children won’t lose their land.

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