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Atlético Madrid’s investment not enough to compete with neighbours Real Madrid

Atlético have only invested €23 million less than Real Madrid over the last decade, but the Bernabéu outfit have won 20 titles compared to five for Simeone’s team.

Valverde celebrates his goal at Atlético-Real Madrid.

The Madrid derby came and went, with Real Madrid winning 2-1 on Sunday. Over the years Madrid have been seen as the powerful, wealthy side of the pair, while Atlético claimed a more modest role. But the transfer figures over the last 10 years belie this assumption. Since 2013, both clubs have invested practically the same amount to strengthen their respective squads.

As might be expected, Real Madrid’s investment is higher, by a mere €23 million over the last decade. During this time, Madrid spent €1,082.4 billion on transfers and earned €959.5 million from sales, for a total of €-122.9 million. Atleti, on the other hand, spent €1,054.3 billion (only €28.1 million less than Madrid) and earned €954.3 million (€5.2 million less than Los Blancos), meaning their figure stands at -€100 million. The difference is just €22.9 million.

Madrid adding silverware

And the curious thing is that, with practically the same investment, Madrid have added more to their trophy room. Over the same period, they have won 20 titles (five Champions League titles, three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, three Spanish Super Cups, four European Super Cups and four Club World Cups), while Atleti have won five (two La Liga titles, one Europa League, one European Super Cup and one Spanish Super Cup). It must be taken into account that after success, Atleti have had to deal with the exodus of many of their star players. In the summer of 2014, when they won La Liga and were runners-up in the Champions League, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis left, and the following summer Arda Turan left. Madrid have an easier time retaining their top players and the difference probably lies in the salaries each club is able to pay: Los Blancos’ budget for this season is €683 million; Atleti’s is €341 million, less than half that.

Simeone overachieving?

All in all, Atleti have been able to make big signings in this time. “Miguel Ángel (Gil Marín) asked me for four or five Champions League qualifications in a row when I arrived and that’s 10 seasons now [in a row],” explained Diego Simeone in May. That has meant stability, and with that stability came João Félix (€127.2 million), Jan Oblak (16, not much for a top goalkeeper for a decade), Jackson Martínez (35, a fiasco, and left after six months for 42), Thomas Lemar (72), Kevin Gameiro (32), Vitolo (35) and Antoine Griezmann (30, when he had only made a name for himself at Real Sociedad).

Real Madrid investing in youth

Since 2013, Madrid have won five Champions League titles from a possible nine. Gareth Bale (€101 million), Isco (30), James (75), Kroos (25), and Hazard (100) all arrived. Madrid are now signing players at a young age, even if they are expensive, with a view to the future. Eduardo Camavinga (€40 million), Aurelién Tchouaméni (80), Rodrygo (40), Vinícius Júnior (45), Éder Militão (50) are the recent examples of that.


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