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Real Madrid now richest club: Perez

July 16, 2005 11:39 IST
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says the Spanish club has overtaken Manchester United as the biggest earner in world soccer.

"We have now ensured that our income is greater than any other team, it is the highest in the world," Perez said in an interview published in Spanish sports daily Marca on Friday.

"Only Manchester United are close to us, but this year we have overtaken them. We have solved our economic problems forever."

In a report published by consultants Deloitte in February, Manchester United topped the rich list for the eighth year in a row with an income of 171.5 million pounds ($301.7 million) for the 2003-2004 season.

Real were in second place with 156.3 million after halving the gap with United since the previous year. Italy's AC Milan were third and Chelsea fourth.

But Perez said that the situation had now changed and that Real's income had increased by 250 percent since he took charge as president five years ago and that the club no longer had any debts.

He spent over 200 million euros ($241.8 million) in bringing a string of world class players including Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, David Beckham and Michael Owen to the Bernabeu.

He funded the spending spree and cleared the club's debts when he sold its city centre training ground to the Madrid local authority for 480 million euros.

Perez said that in contrast to Manchester United and Chelsea, Real enjoyed the advantage of not being controlled by a single owner but by the club's members.


night I sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that Real Madrid will not end up in the hands of any one particular person. Just ask Manchester and Chelsea about that.

"Their model (of ownership) has to be respected but it isn't suitable for Real Madrid."

United are controlled by American sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer and Chelsea by Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich.


With regard to Real's sporting fortunes, Perez said that the club's appeal had not been undermined by the fact that they have failed to win a major trophy in the past two seasons, but he did issue a warning to his players about their level of commitment.

"We have had a problem in that we have believed that we could win our games without even getting off the team bus," he said.

"No one should forget that you win by battling it out and working hard. The idea that we can win merely by virtue of being Real Madrid doesn't hold.

"Last season we finished second and that was a failure for this club."

Real have added depth and defensive power to a side overburdened with attack-minded players by signing of Uruguayan duo Pablo Garcia and Carlos Diogo in the close season and Perez admitted that it was becoming increasingly difficult to sign world names.

"We always try to sign the best in the world but when you have signed Figo, Zidane and Beckham there aren't any more around. These sort of players only emerge once every few decades."

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