Real Madrid may not have won any trophies for two years, but there is one thing at which they are indisputably the best.
When it comes to splashing the cash, nobody in the world comes close.
Roman Abromovich's Chelsea spending spree looked to unseat them for a while, but even a man with a taste for 400 million euro yachts and Billion euro divorces eventually tired of chasing the silk-suited financiers of the Spanish capital.
Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour is the latest to treat European football like a high stakes Monte Carlo cas¡no. His 200 million euro roll of the dice failed to deliver any silverware and just missed out on the prestigious Champions League places.
His blushes will not be the brightest, however. Florentino Pérez, the short, bespectacled finance whiz who runs Real Madrid, spent 300 million euros last summer and ended the season exactly the same way as the year before: empty handed.
Surely after a decade of signings of the most cosmopolitan variety, we would cease to be shocked by all the zeros at the end of the transfer fees.
But then, nobody has ever spent 80 million euros on a coach.
"80 million euros?" you ask.
"How much is that in pesetas?" the Spanish wonder.
All for a coach.
The majority of the sum is salary. Mourinho is already among the highest paid coaches in football, reportedly making 9.5 million euros each year.
His move to Madrid would earn him a healthy increase of half a million euro per anum. He is said to have hashed out a four year contract, which is an eternity at a club that has fired 23 coaches in the last two decades.
When you add the 5 million euros to be paid to his assistants, the four-year total comes to 60 million euros.
The rest comes from the cost of hiring him.
His current contract with Internazionale has a buy-out clause of 8 million euros.
Now add the cost of firing Madrid's current coach, Manuel Pelligrini. The Chilean has another year to run on his contract, worth 8 million. Finally you add four million for Pelligrini's assistants, and you arrive at the nausea-inducing total of 80 million.
Now, Mourinho is a fine coach, perhaps the best there is. He may even be the missing piece in Real Madrid's jigsaw puzzle.
Yet it makes you wonder.
After a decade, Pérez's policy of signing only the biggest names has delivered just five major trophies for all its prodigious outlay. At what point do we decide that they're just throwing good money after the bad?
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