From Beckham to Ronaldo, Madrid president Perez admits players are bought to sell shirts

David Beckham Real Madrid
The fabled 'Galacticos' policy at the Santiago Bernabu has seen the Liga giants acquire superstars for sporting and economic reasons down the years

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has admitted that a club famed for cherry-picking the best talent in world football identify transfer targets based on sporting and economic criteria.

The Liga heavyweights have always boasted some of the finest talent in the game, but the pursuit of the very best has been stepped up under Perez’s regime.

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His first spell at the Santiago Bernabeu helm saw the fabled ‘Galacticos’ policy introduced, and not much has changed since then.

Real have made a habit of acquiring at least one marquee signing every summer, while some seasons have seen several high-profile figures added to the squad.

Luis Figo Real Madrid Champions League

The likes of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Fabio Cannavaro, David Beckham, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have been snapped up for big money, but Perez admits as much thought is given to merchandise opportunities as the ability each addition brings to the fold.

In a rare interview set to be aired on the BBC World Service, Perez said: “People understand the obvious – that we sign big players like Ronaldo, [Zinedine] Zidane and [Luis] Figo. But after the players there is the economic sports equation. 

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“In our model it is fundamental to understand that in the signing of every player, we have to have in our heads: what's the income generated?”

Perez is about to reach 500 games as Madrid president and currently sees his side sat at the top of the Liga table and looking to defend their Champions League crown.

Kaka Florentino Perez Real Madrid

His signings have helped to put the club in this position, while one of his best ever purchases, Zidane, is now pulling the strings in the dugout.

Things could have played out very differently, though, if the club had not pulled through a financial crisis at the turn of the 21st century.

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Perez added: “In the year 2000, Real Madrid suffered a very big economic crisis.

“So big that it risked losing its status as a member-owned club. But the club has to belong to its members and not belong to just one individual.”