A decades-long dream come true was announced by Florentino Perez and Real Madrid this week – a stunning new signing for the club…but it wasn’t a star player
In a sense, it resembled the proverbial cutting of an inauguration ribbon, although there wasn’t actually anything to inaugurate. However, that didn’t stop Real Madrid’s president and construction tycoon Florentino Perez from making a big show out of all of this. Santiago Bernabeu’s VIP Executive Box was the chosen place to kickstart the works which will provide a 100% facelift to the stadium over the next four years.
The ‘legacy’ concept is traditionally kicked around when talking about football or general sports superstars. Tom Brady and his Super Bowls, Michael Jordan and his NBA Championship rings, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League trophies or Leo Messi being a candidate for the GOAT moniker.
🆕🏟 The plans for the redevelopment work to be carried out on the Santiago Bernabéu will be unveiled at the stadium at 1.30pm CEST today. The event will be presided over by @RealMadrid president, Florentino Pérez, and the mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena. #RealMadrid pic.twitter.com/wt86tnPg3y
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) April 2, 2019
For owners and presidents, legacy is almost always bonded to some kind of milestone. The Santiago Bernabeu stadium itself is named after Real Madrid’s best, most relevant, most influent president of all time. But Florentino isn’t a man content with coming second. He always aims for the top seed. And that’s why refurbishing the whole facility has been his main obsession for the last decade, even more so than building a champion team and collecting silverware.
Something which, actually, explains a hell lot of things about the current season.
Paying for such a humungous initiative isn’t an easy task. Let’s crunch some numbers: the whole project will cost around $590 million, which Real expect to finance with a bank credit for the next 30 years; that sum includes $140 million spent in refurbishing the insides of the facility, $112 million will be invested in technological equipment and upgrades and $336 million will be spent on actually building the new features.
These new, shiny features include an aluminum façade covering the whole building, a new museum, building two new squares in streets around the stadium, new gallerias and restaurants, a wide range of commercial venues and boutiques. It’s a 24/7 money-making facility which Real Madrid expects to generate around $140 million in revenue every single year.
As stated earlier, financing will be a crucial part of the whole process which begins in June and should take around three-and-a-half years to complete, always balancing the sporting needs of the team and never forcing Real to play away from home (the works will be performed in a steady, segmented way). Real have quite a lot of credit amongst banks and cash entities, but the magnitude of this undertaking was already previewed when seeing how they have tackled signings in the past few seasons.
The last ‘big’ signing for Los Blancos took place in 2013 with Gareth Bale carrying a hefty $118 million price tag. No more +$100 million signings since; in fact, the most expensive player in the last six years has been Vinicius Junior, which Real Madrid snatched from Brazil in exchange for around $67 million.
The question was brought up by fans every single transfer market window: why did Real, being an financial powerhouse, suddenly become tight-gripped with spending money in signings? Why did they not replace Cristiano with a world-class striker? Why did they sell players such as James Rodríguez for a boatload of cash when obviously he helped his team’s success?
The stadium and its whole renovation from the ground-up was the answer: Real Madrid, though they will never admit it publicly, were building up their finances in order to tackle their biggest and most expensive endeavor ever.
Sports results also helped Florentino’s quiet ant-like money-gathering in their bank account. After all, why sign big names in the market (as PSG, Manchester City or Barça did in the last five years) when they had conquered four out of the last Champions League trophies? Zidane’s unparalleled success was the perfect excuse to keep coins and notes close to their chest.
Until, of course, everything fell apart and came crashing down phenomenally this season, as Cricketsoccer famously predicted back in August 2018.
Florentino is a happy man after his announcement on Tuesday. His dream project is finally on its way to fruition. A huge step forward for Real both as a club and as a business (Florentino has actually blended the lines enough to consider them both at a time), and the final effort to reach the summit of the football world for the tycoon.
But, do not discard at all the return of big expenses this summer in the transfer market; after all, Zizou was back a few weeks ago after placing the club under a few conditions and demands… and big names seem to fit the bill nicely.