Friday, June 12, 2009

A Great Article

CR7 Special: Why Premier League Clubs Can't Criticise Real Madrid's Galacticos Spending Spree
Spending big in the recession was all well and good before a richer and stronger club came out to play, believes Goal.com's Sulmaan Ahmad...Sulmaan Ahmad
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(Original Article Here:
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Why rename a perfectly adequate First Division in the early 1990s? The hierarchy of Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two makes absolutely no immediate sense to someone who isn't already a fan of the game. First, Second and Third Division - the equivalent of what's in Spain, Italy, France and the rest - was more than adequate.
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It was a makeover, undertaken due to the miserable state in which English football found itself. A rebranding and repackaging offered up lucrative television rights that enabled clubs to begin setting new standards on these less-than-sunny shores and make a statement to the world.
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Over a decade passed before it became clear that finally, the financial strength of the Premier League proved a greater lure than the climate, culture and quality of the likes of Spain or Italy. Grassroots English football may have been in something of an abeyance, but the fans were still being rewarded with several of the world's best players plying their trade around the 20 Prem grounds every week.
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There was also the formation of the 'Big Four', who have arguably become four of the most six or seven feared clubs in the Champions League, which is still regarded as the ultimate barometer of any club's quality. Even if it was good business rather than good football that got them the foreign stars that in turn then made them such a force, one thing went without saying: the contintental kings who had lost their status quo certainly wished it was them. And they still do.
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Just last summer, it seemed only a matter of time until every single superstar in the game was to end up in England, and the Premier League would become what the NBA is to basketball.But then, one of the most universally denigrated figures within football, Ramon Calderon, resigned as Real Madrid president under a cloud of corruption, which paved the way for the return of Florentino Perez, formally reinstated less than two weeks ago.
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The mastermind of los Galacticos returned with an unmistakable mission: to restore the club to its former glory, using the same principles the club had abided by throughout its history since legendary president Santiago Bernabeu: a squad containing the best from the cantera, the best from Spain, and the best in the world. This, in order to produce both the best football team possible while simultaneously making as much money for the club and its members as possible, with not a Sheikh in sight.
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Under Calderon, los Blancos had spent more than their fair share without recruiting the kind of quality that was fit to challenge at the very highest level. The disgraced supremo lacked the tact, temperament and stature to broker the big deals; canterano such as Roberto Soldado and Javi Garcia were wrongly recalled and subsequently neglected while Juan Mata was allowed to leave, and no Spanish players were signed throughout his reign.
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It wasn't all bad; team spirit was restored, they rallied to back-to-back Liga titles and some of the younger players began to develop, but time was running out not to be among Europe's elite, and it didn't look like it would ever happen without a change of direction. Falling out of the Champions League's first seedings was the last straw.
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A solid foundation is now in place, but what has been lacking above all else is Calderon's ability to lure the Galacticos and the Spanish stars. Perez has said, on more than one occasion, this summer will be like no other before it, as he will be doing three seasons' work in one.
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Perez is a man of formidable business experience and vast amounts of pulling power. Sound familiar? He is a one-man Premier League. After ten working days in office, he has convinced his good friend Adriano Galliani to part with his prize possession and his formal acquaintance David Gill with his, as good as sealing the first and third most expensive transfers of all time, the two most recent Ballon d'Or winners. And with those foreign stars in the bag, next on the list are Spaniards David Villa and Xabi Alonso. Maicon and Gael Clichy have also been mooted as possible defensive reinforcements.
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The Premier League has lost its best player from United and Chelsea, the archetypal Premier League financial powerhouse, have been beaten not just to Kaka, but now to David Villa, as well. On top of that, Liverpool could well lose one of their best players in Xabi Alonso and even Arsenal might be under threat.
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Get On With The GameThe cowering reaction from the Premier League has been typical of what they have been criticising their continental competitors for in the last few years. The constant complaining and questioning of the financial imbalance, accusations of greed and even deceit, and for what?
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Real Madrid may be run by a billionaire, but they are not owned by one, Perez's personal fortune is legally off limits for spending by the club. They have not 'sold out' - and the business model that enables them to spend hundreds of millions of euros is based on the premise that certain types of players will pay for themselves over time. Whether or not Madrid's team is tactically balanced is wholly irrelevant; let them worry about their calamitous defence, maybe Perez will make all the same mistakes as before, but in the mean time, the Premier League need to concentrate on themselves, on how they will challenge Real Madrid (and the small matter of Barcelona, who remain the best team in the world as things stand).
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Dennis Bergkamp, an undisputed genius during his years on the pitch and a voice of reason away from it, remarked that the transfer fees for Kaka and Ronaldo may seem excessive, but must be put into perspective. The Dutchman, who was once upon a time the world's second most expensive player himself, realises that as long as they quite literally pay for themselves, Kaka and Ronaldo are the very essence of value for money.
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Heavy spending and so-called financial bullying in the recession never became a problem until the Spanish giants came in and upped the ante, so it needn't become one now. Their spending power, after all, is not artificial; it comes only from the strength of their club, their institution, and it is the club that will pay every last euro for every last Galactico on their books this summer and beyond.
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Petty criticism of Madrid and their Galacticos only exudes fear and jealousy. Ronaldo could have got all the wages he wanted out of United and Kaka, though his ideal was to stay at Milan, could have headed to Chelsea or Manchester City if he wanted the most money. They each wanted Madrid, but all the Galacticos in the world won't make los Merengues unbeatable, just as Barcelona proved that three Prem sides in the final four of the Champions League made no difference to them on their quest for all-conquering glory. Kaka's €65m transfer fee alone was equivalent to all of Barca's signings that took to the field in the Champions League final.
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The very fact that Madrid have gone from being treated with the contempt and indifference they attracted under Calderon to the hatred and fear inspired under Perez only serves only to affirm that they are heading in a dangerous direction. After all, Premier League fans should know as well as anyone that in such situations, being hated is usually a good thing.
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Sulmaan Ahmad, Goal.com

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