La Liga president Javier Tebas has defended Real Madrid’s attempts to sign Kylian Mbappe despite football’s wider economic struggles, adamant their conduct pales in comparison to that of PSG.
Madrid president Florentino Perez was at the forefront of the European Super League scandal earlier this year, as a group of elite clubs attempted to form a closed breakaway competition.
Perez said their intention was to “save” football, convinced the sport was financially unsustainable in its current form, but plans quickly unravelled when the English clubs involved pulled out.
Yet, despite talk of football’s doom, Madrid lodged bids for Mbappe in the most recent transfer window, with their offers thought to have started at €160million – only the Frenchman himself (€180m) and PSG team-mate Neymar (€222m) have ever cost more.
Nevertheless, Madrid have raised significant capital through sales over the past four years, turning a profit in transfer fees in three of the five seasons dating back to the start of 2017-18.
As such, Tebas sees little cause for concern over the financial state of Madrid, but he cannot see them having a transfer window like that of PSG, who brought in Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos and Nuno Mendes.
Speaking at a sponsorship news conference, Tebas told reporters: “I said that Spanish football is not ruined, neither Madrid nor Barcelona.
“There are at least 80 per cent of clubs in Europe that have it much worse. Regarding Real Madrid, I think they have been the club that’s been better managed through the pandemic, with enormous rigor in their salary spending. Real Madrid has the capacity to do what they want.
“They can never be PSG, because PSG cheats. They have a salary expense close to €600m, which is impossible. Madrid are not a state club either, so they can’t.”
Talk of Spanish football’s demise intensified following Barcelona’s latest comprehensive Champions League defeat on Tuesday, losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich at Camp Nou, while Sevilla stuttered to a 1-1 draw at home to Salzburg.
For Barca, it was the first time since Opta records began (2003-04) that they had failed to get a shot on target in a Champions League game, and Bayern’s superiority condemned Ronald Koeman’s men to three successive home defeats in the competition for the first time.
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Prior to 2020-21, Barca had only ever lost two Champions League home games by three or more goals but that has occurred three times since – with Messi no longer there, many would expect their standard to plummeting further.
But Tebas insists the odd Champions League result does not necessarily mean anything, pointing out the Premier League arguably enjoyed its greatest period of growth during a European trophy drought.
“There is still a lot of the Champions League to go,” he continued. “Last year it was the same and then everyone went through to the knockout phase.
“The level of LaLiga does not depend on a few Champions League games. When the Premier League grew the most, it was in a phase of six years without winning the main elite competition.”