According to extensive research compiled by professional consultants Deloitte, Real Madrid topped the Money League for the eleventh consecutive year; Los Blancos generated €577m (£439m) in the 2014/15 season, buoyed by growth in commercial revenue.
Matchday income also saw an increase as growing crowds flocked to see Ronaldo and Bale et al. smashing hat-tricks past Spanish minnows. The planned redevelopment of the Santiago Bernabéu means that Madrid’s position at the summit is likely to be maintained throughout the coming years.
Wealth has become synonymous with the footballing empire of Real Madrid. There’s rarely a summer transfer window in which Real Madrid are not moving to orchestrate one of the year’s biggest moves.
Los Blancos extravagant wealth was undoubtedly employed most flamboyantly during the club’s famous Galacticos era – the policy pursued during Florentino Pérez’s presidency at Real Madrid, where in his first tenure he purchased at least one galactico in the summer of each consecutive year.
Immediate success followed the announcement of the policy; Real went on to win La Liga in 2000/01 and 2002/03 and in dramatic circumstances, the UEFA Champions League in 2001–02, with Zidane scoring the winning goal in the final.
A Corrupt Spanish Government Paid For Those Titles
Real’s relationship with the local authority has been the subject of debate ever since the Spanish giants sold part of their training ground to the council in 1998.
By the end of the 20th century the land surrounding the Real Madrid’s Ciudad Deportiva training ground was no longer on the outskirts of Madrid, but had become a transportation hub with the north of the city and a financial area.
Its location along the Castellana further increased the land’s value. With Real Madrid’s debts mounting in the late 1990s, plans to re-zone and commercially develop the land were mooted by the council several times, but it wasn’t until the presidency of Florentino Pérez that these plans came to fruition.
In 2000, the motion was re-introduced, voted on, and approved in the Madrid parliament to re-zone the area of the Ciudad Deportiva, which until then was zoned for non-commercial purposes – Madrid immediately moved to sell the property for financial gain.
The dodgy deal between Real Madrid and the local government determined that in exchange for re-zoning the land, Perez would agree to sell a portion of the land to the Government. The remaining portions were sold in public project bids to four opportunist corporations, Repsol YPF, Mutua Automovilística de Madrid, Sacyr Vallehermoso and Obrascón Huarte Lain.
From a value of €421,000 in 1998, the Government somehow deemed the value in 2011 to be €22.7m, a 5,400% rise.
After completing the sale of their training ground, Real Madrid completely wiped out all of their massive $245.4m (£170m) debt.
The dodgy dealings of land re-valuation and direct proceeds enabled Real to embark on their period of extravagant Galacticos spending.
Not only did the deal represent a windfall for a club struggling to compete on the field with a resurgent Barcelona, but the series of property swaps between club and council left Real owning the land it needs to substantially upgrade the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – a £200m plan that includes putting a roof on the ground.
Without the scrupulous government deal there is no way that heavily indebted Real would’ve been able to splash out on their extravagant squad of superstars:
Speaking after the dodgy deal was completed, the Madrid president remarked:
“I have been working for this from the very day I became president. This is very important for Real Madrid because we have removed a terrible burden.”
“From now on we can live without anxiety or financial difficulties. Real Madrid has not only to be a sporting leader, it must also be a financial leader too.”