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Real Madrid, up against financial doping


The current Chelsea side is a kind of revamped version of the original one constructed by Roman Abramovich, that Russian multimillionaire who became smitten with the Champions League while on his luxury yacht watching that epic quarter final meeting between Manchester United and Real Madrid. It’s his little whim and one which he spends whatever he fancies on. PSG and Manchester City meanwhile, are the whims of two sheiks from the Middle East - essentially ‘State clubs’, as LaLiga president Javier Tebas once defined them. And that is what Real Madrid will be up against in the final stages of this year’s Champions League. Madrid, deprived of income from conventional sources due to the pandemic, will clearly be at a disadvantage.

Financial Fair Play

UEFA were once so concerned about the appearance of these super-rich clubs that it lay down new regulations to combat them. Málaga and Mallorca have suffered sanctions for very minor infringements. And even AC Milan, due to excess debt. But City and PSG seem to keep getting away with it. City, because the evidence was obtained through a hacker. PSG for a subtle legality regarding the length of the sanction. Chelsea have never been investigated. Ok, they were recently hit with a one and half-year transfer ban for breaching rule on the registration of minors, which was remedied this summer by splashing out 250 million on Havertz, Werner, Chilwell and Ziyech.

Madrid's loss in income

Of the four semi-finalists, Madrid are the only ones who have had to fend for themselves – bringing in income through ticket sales, television revenue and marketing. If they go on to win this edition of the Champions League, they will be the most deserved winners ever. They are no longer that Galáctico Madrid that stirred both fascination and suspicion – the current Madrid side is comprised of a discreet squad of players who draw strength from Zidane’s wisdom and calm demeanour together with the solidarity of a group which has been together for some time. Madrid’s most recent victories have been respectfully acknowledged and applauded by those who couldn’t be further away from Madrid’s hardcore fans. The other day I quoted [El Chiringuito pundit] Cristóbal Soria, today we can commentators from [Catalan radio] RAC-1. Now Madrid face the most difficult thing task of all, taking on financial doping.