June 11, 2009

Buying a championship

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

Soccer, like in no other sport, is the only sport you can buy a championship. With the way their transfer system works, the big money teams are highly favoured every year since, if they’re missing a piece, they can simply buy it from a team lower than them who may be in need of cash. Well, Real Madrid have been doing their best impression of the New York Yankees of recent years.

In the past week, Madrid has bought the past two FIFA World Player of the Year award winners, and for massive amounts of money too. First, they nabbed 2007 award winner Kaka from allegedly cash-strapped AC Milan for the sum of 60 million Euros. In case you’re keeping track, that was the second highest transfer fee ever, at the time, behind only Zinedine Zidane.

Kaka (yes, that’s the name he actually goes by) is one of, if not the best attacking midfielders in the world. The Brazilian international had long been sought after by newly-rich Manchester City, but turned down a move in the winter transfer period because he wanted to stay at AC Milan. Oh, how times change. The weird thing is, Kaka actually got less money in the Real Madrid transfer than he would have from Man City. I guess it really wasn’t about money and just a desire to play for a world contender.

Then, there’s today’s news. Plastered across the front page of ESPN.com today was the confirmation that no Manchester United supporter wanted to see: Cristiano Ronaldo has been sold, of course, to Real Madrid. And for record money too.  Ronaldo broke the bank and Zidane’s transfer record by accepting to a $131-million US fee yesterday.

Ronaldo, one of the fastest wingers in the world – and one of the easiest to knock over as well – has never been afraid to shoot the ball or his mouth off. He’s one of the best talents in the game, maybe ever, but there’s always been something to his makeup I’ve never liked. He seems too much of a whiner, but since he’s a superstar, he’ll get some of the calls he whines about. I, for one, as a Blackburn fan, won’t be missing Cristiano’s antics at all – I’m looking forward to season with Man U at a weakened state.

Oh, there is just one other thing that bothers me about the Ronaldo signing: Is Madrid aware that he’s never scored against a Spanish side? That could get interesting.

So, it looks like Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez wasn’t just blowing smoke when he talked about his grand plans for his team. Whoever would’ve thought that landing the two best players in the world was actually possible? Well, one thing’s for certain Real Madrid are well on their way to buying a championship. It’s just too bad that they’ll have to overcome Barcelona at every level of play. Now those should be some good matches.

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