David Beckham's departure from Real Madrid has reportedly helped plunge the world's richest club into financial difficulties.
Real, despite being announced as the worlds richest club in February of this year, have now reportedly been forced to ask one of Spain's biggest banks for an emergency loan of £23 million. The loan will cover running costs, according to El Mundo, the Spanish newspaper.
Despite average attendances of 70,000 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Real took only £55 million in gate receipts, which is said to be only 60 percent of Manchester United's takings at the turnstiles.
The clubs high wage bill and a hefty payoff to England manager Fabio Capello, who earned £4 million a year as a coach, mean that their margins are under pressure and they have reportedly run into cash-flow problems.
The absence of David Beckham was also greatly felt; more keenly on the club's balance sheet than on the pitch. His departure has cost the club between £24 million and £30 million, according to a study by the University of Catalonia.
Under Ramon Calderon, Real embarked on a spending spree, including high-profile purchases of Arjen Robben, Fabio Cannavaro and Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.
As recently as June, Calderon insisted that the club were in fact on sound financial footing. Real, however, missed out on a television rights windfall by virtue of their early exit in the Champions League. Real lost in the first knockout round to Italian club AS Roma.
In addition to the bank loan, it is claimed that directors at the club have been asked to raise additional funds.
Any financial difficulty, however, is unlikely to be felt for long. The club boasted pre-tax profits of nearly £30 million last year and a turnover of £250 million.