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BBC Sport's Alex Simpson
"Perez met with Juventus' director and agreed a fee approaching $70m for the world player of the year"
 real 14k

banner Monday, 9 July, 2001, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Real leave the rest behind
Real Madrid
Real Madrid reclaimed the Spanish title last season
As Real Madrid break the world transfer record for the second time in a year, Europe's other leading clubs must be wondering what they can do to keep up.

Zinedine Zidane has arrived at the Bernabeu for just under 50m to join a squad that already boasts the previous world record signing, Luis Figo.

Those two players alone have cost the Madrid club 85m in the space of 12 months, and there is no sign of any leading players leaving to balance the books.

Real Madrid has not only to be a sporting leader, it must also be a financial leader too
  Florentine Perez
Real Madrid president
For a club known to have been hugely in debt for many years, the newly profitable Real Madrid is wasting no time in putting its rivals in the shade.

For the likes of Manchester United and Bayern Munich, who pride themselves on being solid financial performers, it must be galling to be dwarfed by Madrid in the transfer market.

The man who seems to have turned things around at the Bernabeu is club president Florentino Perez.

He has master-minded the signings of Zidane and Luis Figo

Luis Figo
Figo - teaming up with Zidane

He has master-mined the signings of Zidane and Figo - but more importantly, Perez looks to have fulfilled his second promise of ridding Real Madrid of its crippling debt.

Official figures are hard to come by where Real are concerned, but the club was reported to be up to 200m in the red.

Perez sealed a deal with Madrid's accommodating local council to sell the club's training ground - La ciudad deportiva - for a figure believed to be around 300m.

More than the capture of Figo and Zidane, that is the piece of business that could see Real leave their rivals behind.

Perez did not stop there, however, as he also negotiated an 11-year image rights deal with bank Caja Madrid worth an estimated $46m.


In addition, the club has been rewarded for gambling on big name signings. Success on the pitch is profitable and there has been plenty of that at the Bernabeu recently.

The last European Cup triumph in 2000 was worth around 32m, and last season was hardly a disaster as they regained the Spanish title and made the last four in the Champions League.

Something approaching 400m is thought to have come into the club since last October and they expect to be making 150m a season from 2003.

Now that the Spanish champions have put their money worries behind them, there is little prospect of Manchester United and the rest closing the gap.

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See also:

09 Jul 01 |  Europe
Zidane makes record Real switch
23 Jun 01 |  Europe
Zidane wants Real move
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