Cristiano Ronaldo transfer: Florentino Perez gets his man as Real Madrid eye further targets
Whatever it was, while everyone else went crazy over the imminent world-record signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid hid in the shade and simply posted the briefest of communiques. How many people actually saw it is a mystery: such was the clamour for confirmation that the club website crashed. Related ArticlesRonaldo: greatest goalsRonaldo lowlightsPlayboy RonaldoRonaldo to join Real for £80mFerguson's £80m targetsCristiano Ronaldo: reaction"Real Madrid confirm that we have made an offer to Manchester United for acquisition of the playing rights of Cristiano Ronaldo," the statement read. "The club hopes to reach an agreement with the player in the next few days." And that was that. But do not let three lines in the tiniest of typefaces fool you; Real Madrid president Florentino Perez could not have been happier. Not just at the signing but at the reaction to it. His obsession has been with returning Madrid to centre-stage. On Thursday, that is exactly where they were. Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka have already brought Madrid the thing Perez most craves for his club: attention. The world is watching again. Not that Perez's appetite is sated. He will continue to court attention by continuing his spending. He now has the two players he really wanted above all. These are two signings that twist the knife into the back of Ramon Calderon, the former president, the two men he promised but failed to deliver. The crushing irony for Calderon is that he set up the deal that has ended up bringing Ronaldo to his hated successor's Santiago Bernabau. He will always be remembered for not signing Kaka. Perez will always be remembered for doing just that. Political moves made, marquee signings clinched, Perez now turns his attention to other targets – and there are plenty of them. He has talked about building a team to excite the fans and about doing so virtually from scratch. Countless names are on the list, from Xabi Alonso to Gael Clichy, from Diego Forlan to Franck Ribery. Then there are Valencia. Almost €500 million (£426 million) in debt, the club are going to be forced to sell this summer. Madrid hope to be able to take advantage, to pick off the carcass of a club that appears to be entering its death throes. On Thursday Valencia declared that David Silva was untouchable but there was no word on striker David Villa. He is, in short, available and Jorge Valdano, Madrid's new director general, is "very interested". If Chelsea are cheered by Valdano's suggestion that, at €40 million (£34 million), Villa is "expensive", they have one crucial disadvantage: Villa wants to stay in Spain. If there is something not quite right about the director general of a club who have broken the world transfer record twice in less than a week describing Villa as "expensive", there is something equally odd about them seeking to take advantage of Valencia's debts. After all, according to one recent study, Madrid's own debt could be just as high – almost €500 million. Perez has been forced to seek a €250 million (£213 million) loan from Catalan bank La Caixa to fund his signings. Not that Perez is worried. Or so he says. The crux of the galacticos policy is finance, not football. Signing Kaka and Ronaldo may help Real Madrid win matches; more importantly, Perez claims it will help Real Madrid make money through tours, shirt sales and marketing. He insists that transfer fees should be seen as money invested, not money spent. "The most expensive players are often the cheapest," he says. That is hard to believe for a player who will cost Real Madrid £80 million, plus a likely £10 million a year before tax for the next five or six years. According to a study carried out by Professor Simon Chadwick, together Kaka and Ronaldo could bring in an additional $175 million (£105 million) a season. After all, Madrid claimed that David Beckham earned them more than £340 million in merchandising alone, increasing profits 137 per cent over his first three seasons. Even if that is true, there is still one major flaw: Beckham might have sold shirts during those first three seasons at Madrid, but he didn't win a thing.
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