Over the weekend while I was busy cheering for Liverpool and Arsenal in their respective matches against Manchester United and Tottenham, history was being created around Tottenham forward, Gareth Bale.
So, Real Madrid shelled out an obscene 100 million euros (how many zeroes again?) for a six-year deal, surpassing the 94 million they paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo. The deal also makes FCB’s 57 million for Neymar a couple of months back look like Justin Bieber.
That’s all about the numbers. Over the last couple of days, I came across articles, a lot of which criticized Real Madrid for splurging on a player, “who was not worth so much”. Yes, he is good; yes, he is young, but he is nowhere close to Messi or even his RM colleague, Ronaldo. It is more of a case of extravagance of club President Florentino Perez and one-upmanship by RM over FCB (ahh, the hidden Delhiite in all of us, with RM still sulking over losing out Neymar to FCB. Some articles even went to the extent of portraying it as a callous waste of money at a time when the Spanish economy is in doldrums.
But you have got to give it to RM for investing in young talent and grooming them; you have got to give it to them for having a long-term horizon (in the six years that Bale would be with the club, he would reach his peak form even before he hits 30) rather than obsessing about immediate ‘value’; you have got to give it to them for their flamboyance, both on and off the field. It’s more to do with their inherent culture and way of life rather than this particular case of a transfer. It IS the Spanish way!
As for the argument about the bad economy, that just doesn’t hold its ground at all. It’s not government or tax-payers money at stake. The clubs are privately funded and it’s a simple business deal for them. If they have got the money, they have all the right to put it where they want to. No economics professor can make them feel guilty about it. Look at India for example. Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, the BCCI is the richest cricket board in the world, and you don’t have the nation up in arms against it! Sports, at the end of the day, is big business.
If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, even if at times it may seem Real(ly) Mad(rid)…