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Olympics2000

Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Figo not the major arrival
Real Madrid celebrate
Real Madrid celebrate their Champions League success

The Uefa Super Cup will be shown live on BBC Two in the UK at 19:30 BST

Luis Figo's 37m transfer from Barcelona may have attracted all the headlines but the world record deal would never have taken place without the arrival of new President Florentino Perez.

The 43-year-old civil engineer is by far the most important arrival at the Bernabeu this summer after defeating previous incumbent Lorenzo Sanz in the July poll to become the 14th president in the club's history.

Perez even promised to reimburse all Real Madrid members the cost of their season tickets if he was elected and Figo did not sign.

At first that looked set to prove a costly mistake with the player denying he wanted to leave Barcelona but the presidential candidate kept faith and duly delivered on his promise.

Figo was joined in pre-season training by a number of other new faces including Pedro Munitis, an 8m acquisition from Racing Santander, Albert Celades from Celta Vigo and goalkeeper Cesar from Valladolid.

Balancing the books

Inevitably Figo's arrival led to speculation over the future of a number of established players including Steve McManaman.

Perez claims the club is 160m in debt and that the books needed to be balanced.

Nicolas Anelka departed to Paris St Germain for 22m and Fernando Redondo was sold to AC Milan for 11.25m.

The Argentine accused the club of forcing him into the move and then making it appear as if he had himself orchestrated the transfer.

Real have had a busy pre-season as they prepare for the start of the league season against Valencia on 10 September.

As well as the Centenary Tournament in Munich they beat Middlesbrough 2-1 and lost 2-1 against Sporting Lisbon.

Coach: Vicente Del Bosque

Del Bosque has been with Real either as a player or coach since 1973. He was appointed to succeed Toshack last November and overcame a shaky start to win the Champions League.

Vicente Del Bosque
Coach Vicente Del Bosque is a Real legend
His time as Toshack's replacement looked set to be short when Real were beaten 5-1 by Real Zaragoza, but success in Europe more than made up for league disappointment.

Real are the most successful club in Spain, with 27 championship victories, but despite Champions League success last year they finished only fifth in the league.

In his time as a player Del Bosque won five league titles and four cups and is seen by the fans as one of their own. This is his second spell in temporary charge, he took over for a spell in 1994.

He won 18 caps for Spain as a player.

Three to watch

Iker Casillas

Potentially one of the best Spanish keepers of all time, Casillas enjoyed an astonishing rise to prominence last season.

Iker Cassilas
Cassilas burst on to the scene last season
After starting the campaign behind Bodo Illgner and Albano Bizarri he took his chance when Illgner was injured and Bizarri lost his place after fumbling his way through the World Club Championship.

He cemented his place with a superb display in the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester United and went on to pick up a winners medal, play for Spain and make the final squad for Euro 2000.

Has suffered a setback in pre-season being excluded from the first team for the friendly against Sporting Lisbon and being left out of the national squad.

He may play for Spain in the Olympics and put his Real first team shirt at risk.

Luis Figo

Figo became the most expensive player in the world in July when he signed for Real Madrid from their eternal rivals Barcelona for 37.5m.

Luis Figo
Figo shone for Portugal at Euro 2000
The move was one of football's most controversial, emerging from a tug of war for the Real presidency between Lorenzo Sanz and incumbent Florentino Perez.

Figo was just 18 when he made his international debut against Luxembourg in October 1991.

But it is only in the last couple of years that he has really come to the attention of those outside the Iberian peninsula and is now deservedly recognised as one of Europe's finest.

Any doubts over his ability to produce on the big occasion was dispelled at Euro 2000 where he rivalled Zidane for the player of the tournament as Portugal reached the semi-finals.

Only time will tell whether the 100m buy-out clause Real have slapped on him will be enough to keep him for the six years of his contract.

Raul

Raul Gonzalez Blanco is the golden boy of Spanish football although it may take time to get over his Euro 2000 penalty miss in the quarter-final against France.

Raul
Atletico Madrid will rue letting Raul go
Raul averages a goal every second game in the Primera Liga, and he now has around 200 appearances to his name - he's still in his early 20s.

Last season he scored 10 times in the Champions League finishing joint-top scorer with Rivaldo and Mario Jardel.

At international level he is just as prolific. His tally now stands at 17 goals in 35 games.

The skilful left-footed striker joined Real from city rivals Atletico when the controversial Atletico president Jesus Gil decided to close down his junior teams as a cost-cutting measure.

He burst on to the scene in 94 as a 17-year-old, Real's youngest ever first team player, scoring nine times in 28 outings as they won the league.

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