‘Galácticos like Bale were cheap’: Real president

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez has defended his policy of signing the best players in the world for huge transfer fees by claiming they make the club money in the long run.

'Galácticos like Bale were cheap': Real president
"All the important players have been cheap for Real Madrid. That is why we lead the Forbes list," Pérez told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.Photo: Pierre Philippe Marcou/AFP

Pérez is in his second term in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu and added to a stellar cast of signings under his guidance such as Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo with the capture of Gareth Bale earlier this month.

And whilst the 66-year-old construction magnate refused to clarify whether Madrid had paid €91 million ($123 million, £76.7 million) for the Welshman reported by Spanish media, or what would be a record breaking €101 million as suggested by the press in England, Pérez claimed Bale had in fact been a "cheap" signing.

"The signing was cheap," Pérez told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

"All the important players have been cheap for Real Madrid. That is why we lead the Forbes list."

Indeed, American business magazine Forbes increased their valuation of Real Madrid following the Bale signing to $3.4 billion to consolidate their place as the world's most valuable sports entity.

"It was shown with Figo, Zidane, Beckham and Ronaldo. Even though they were very expensive, we went from losing money to making money."

Madrid's money-making potential under Pérez's two spells in charge has dramatically increased with revenue rising from just €85 million 15 years ago to €520.9 million  for the 2012/13 season.

Real also recorded a significant rise in profit and cut their net debt last season despite ending the campaign empty handed in terms of trophies.

Pérez is hoping that Bale's arrival will signal not only continued commercial success, but a return to winning ways on the field.

And he also claimed that the player shunned the advances of Manchester United to end up at the Bernabeu.

"Bale has twice been named the best player in the Premier League, he was the image of the Premier League.

"I believe he is one of the best players in the world and Real Madrid have the model of buying the best.

"Tottenham did not want to sell him. It came to our attention that Manchester United had made an offer and we then made ours. Since he was young he has had the desire to play for Real Madrid and he asked we do everything possible for him to come."

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Black Lives Matter: Marcelo ‘takes the knee’ to celebrate Real Madrid win

Marcelo celebrated by taking a knee as Real Madrid returned from three months away following the coronavirus suspension by beating Eibar 3-1 on Sunday.

Black Lives Matter: Marcelo 'takes the knee' to celebrate Real Madrid win
Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo kneels on the field to celebrate his goal. Photo: AFP

After scoring Madrid's third goal in the 37th minute, Marcelo dropped onto his left knee and raised his clinched right fist into the air, apparently in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Madrid's win may have come at a cost as Eden Hazard and Sergio Ramos were both substituted early in the second half and were seen with ice packs strapped to them while sitting in the stands.

Hazard was making his first start since February and his ice pack appeared to be around his troublesome right ankle, which he injured in November and February, before undergoing surgery in March.

“We knew Eden would lack a bit of rhythm playing the whole game,” coach Zinedine Zidane said.

“He played well for an hour, he took a knock which was a scare but at half-time he said he was fine. He is happy with what he has done and we are happy with him.”

Madrid's win means they reduce the gap behind league leaders Barcelona back to two points after the Catalans thrashed Real Mallorca 4-0 on Saturday.    

Madrid struck in the fourth minute after a superb strike from Toni Kroos before Ramos tucked away Hazard's pass on the counter-attack.    

Eibar pulled one back in the second half through Pedro Bigas but never found the second to make Madrid nervous, despite a brief spell of pressure.    

Before going off, Hazard was busy, the Belgian involved in all three goals.    

His weaving run through midfield led to Kroos' shot and it was his effort that was cleared out to Marcelo, who drove into the corner.    

After a miserable opening season in Spain, it was a bright start for Hazard, who could now redeem himself by playing a crucial role in the run-in, if he can stay injury-free.

Perhaps even more impressive though was Karim Benzema, who linked up brilliantly with Hazard and was unfortunate not to get the goal an excellent all-round performance deserved.

Gareth Bale started on the bench but came on and could start against Valencia on Thursday.

Zidane is likely to rotate heavily over the next few weeks, with the games coming thick and fast.

New surroundings

Madrid's coach will also have been pleased to get off to a positive start in their new training ground home, which was the 100th different stadium to be used in La Liga.

They will be playing all their remaining home matches at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium to allow renovation work at the Santiago Bernabeu to continue this summer.

“We know the situation, it's all a bit strange,” said Zidane. “But the players are all champions and we have to get our heads around it.”    

Barca had needed less than two minutes to score against Mallorca and Madrid were only slightly later, as Hazard broke through Eibar's midfield and Casemiro set Benzema free.

The ball was cleared to Kroos on the edge of the area, who struck first time, sidefooting perfectly into the far top right-hand corner.   

Ramos doubled their advantage after starting, and finishing, a ruthless counter-attack. In between, Benzema and Hazard were involved again, the former picking out the latter, who generously gave Ramos an open goal.

Marcelo put Eibar all but out of sight before half-time as Benzema played through for Hazard and his shot spilled out to Marcelo to lash into the corner.

Eibar were better after the break as Edu Exposito forced a full-stretch save from Thibaut Courtois and then Sergi Enrich headed against the crossbar. 

Bigas did score after diverting in Pedro Leon's shot but Madrid held on.    

Earlier, Diego Costa scored his first goal since October but Atletico Madrid missed the chance to move into La Liga's top four by drawing 1-1 away at Athletic Bilbao.

Costa celebrated by holding up the shirt of Virgina Torrecilla, a player from Atletico's women's team, who underwent surgery on a brain tumour last month.

His equaliser came two minutes after the excellent Iker Muniain had given Bilbao the lead towards the end of the first half and neither side could find a winner at the empty San Mames, with Atletico defender Santiago Arias missing the best chance late on.

Diego Simeone's side stay sixth, level on points with Getafe and one behind Real Sociedad, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Osasuna.