Sports / September 16, 2009

Summer transfers yield new ‘Galacticos’ in Spain

This summer’s transfer window was always going to be a big one. With clubs like Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Barcelona coming to the table with bags full of money to spend, expectations were set high.

Real Madrid had just elected a new club president – Florentino Pérez. Here’s a little history lesson: In 2000, Pérez, a wealthy businessman, was elected president of Real Madrid C. de F with the promise of bringing in the biggest names in soccer worldwide.

Once elected, he made good on the promise by signing Zinedine Zidane from Juventus for about $73 million (the most expensive transfer ever at the time), Ronaldo from Inter Milan, Luis Figo from rivals FC Barcelona, David Beckham from Manchester United and Michael Owen from Liverpool. These players and others were deemed the “Galacticos” by the Spanish press.

When, in 2006, the team had gone for three years without winning a single trophy, Perez resigned and many of the players left with him. Now, in 2009, Perez is back and has brought forward a new generation of “Galacticos” with him. Again, Perez broke the transfer record by signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for a smooth $132 million. But he didn’t stop there: he also got Kaká from AC Milan for almost $100 million, Karim Benzema from AC Milan and Xabi Alonso from Liverpool. We have yet to see if these new signings will be able to work together as a team better than their predecessors did almost ten years ago.

Spanish rivals FC Barcelona have been trying to keep up with one of the biggest profile trades this summer: Barcelona’s top goal scorer Samuel Eto’o for Italy’s Serie top goal scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They also purchased Inter Milan defender Maxwell, and took a risk on Ukranian youngster Dmytro Chygrynskiy.

But Real Madrid and FC Barcelona haven’t been the only teams making big purchases in the transfer window. Manchester City has been doing their fair share of spending over in England. Their first purchase of the summer- Carlos Tevez from cross-city rivals Manchester United- was big enough, but they didn’t stop there. They went on to buy Emanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure from Arsenal.

Despite losing two of their biggest stars, Ronaldo and Tevez, Manchester United didn’t do very much in the way of purchases this summer. Their only big purchase was that of Newcastle striker Michael Owen, and he’s been warming the bench for most of the first games this season.

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Gordon Barratt

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