Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Professional sports are all about bus...

Professional sports are all about business. Transfer sums in European soccer have grown exponentially over the last couple of decades and Real Madrid is about to set an all-time high with its 75 million £ offer on Ronaldo, reported by several newspapers yesterday night ( 75 million pounds is a lot of money, it translates to about 123 million U.S. dollars. According to the Guardian, Manchester United, which is Mr. Ronaldo's employer today, is categorically refusing to sell Ronaldo, treating him like an invaluable asset. Florentino Pérez, the president of Real Madrid, seems to be on a buying rampage to ensure Real gets the best players around. They just signed with Kaka from AC Milan, another substantial contract costing Real 65 million £. The Guardian also inquired by Mr. Pérez about rumors that Real are interested in Liverpool's Xabi Alonso. Mr. Pérez answered that they are not looking in this direction, in spite of Alonso's very good qualities, because Liverpool has not signalled him for sale. 

Now, Mr. Pérez, I find that mighty strange. Liverpool has not signalled that Alonso is for sale, but have they signalled he is not for sale? Not to the best of my knowledge. What about Cristiano Ronaldo? Manchester United has not signalled that he is for sale, but they have for sure made clear that Ronaldo belongs at Old Trafford for a long, long time. Yet, Pérez says the most important thing is to stay friendly to the other European clubs. What is the strategy here? Making these statements, that it is important to stay on friendly terms with one's competitors, as well as saying that Alonso is not in the sight for a contract in Spain, makes Mr. Pérez seem like a mild man at the position of a lion; the president of one of Europe's larges soccer clubs. This mild man picture does, however, not go too well with the liking of a hostile take-over of Cristiano Ronaldo. The interesting thing with this offer is to see what Manchester United does about it; can the club afford to say no to more than a 100 million dollars? Is one man really worth such sums? Real Madrid seems to think so. Now it only remains to see what the executives in Manchester do. If the transfer sorts itself out for Mr. Pérez, for Ronaldo (who has previously said he'd like to move to southern Europe) and for Sir Alex Ferguson, it remains to see how the soccer landscape of Europe could change. Is the transfer going to affect the power positions in Europe? A lot of money will be shifting hands; think of all the recruitment programmes you could set up and run with a 100 million dollars! Is Ronaldo really that much worth? With a typical business CEO in charge at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo would be history in Premier League. What really happens remains to be seen though, because when it comes to decision making, footballers and old-fashioned corporate executives do not think alike.

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