Four days before the thunderous elimination of Real Madrid in the Champions League, Netflix premiered Losers, documentary series that tells eight stories of extreme defeat and their digestions. It was, also, five days before the European expulsion of PSG, whose recent trajectory seems to oppose chapter of the second season. Especially, its cataclysms in March: in 2017 Barça beat them 4-0, and now Manchester United, a 0-2. In the series also appears French golfer Jean van de Velde, who escaped the British Open in 1999 on the last hole. He had never been so close to winning a big one and he never was again. In that could seem something to PSG, which has not touched the European Cup, but nothing to Madrid, with 13 crowns, and has more than 1,000 days as champion.
The club is now at a colossal crossroads: about to begin the remodeling of the stadium; with the need to sign up in a bloated market; forced to sell depreciated players and in the worst sports season since 2006, with 42 million less than if it had raised another ear. There the first big explosion was recorded. The night of the defeat against Ajax 81-4), the president, Florentino Perez, and the captain, Sergio Ramos, maintained a hard cross of reproaches in the locker room of the Bernabéu in which soccer and money were mentioned.
Jordi Esteve, partner of the consultancy PwC and one of the authors of a detailed report on the economic impact of football for LaLiga, locates the greatest danger there: "Madrid has had an important boost by the results of the previous years in the Champions League that has allowed him good contracts and sponsorships. Elimination has an impact on your brand, "he says. Also look at the locker room: "It affects the fall in the value of the players, who are their asset. That's more relevant than the losses of ticket sales or shirts. "
Óscar Ribot, CEO of Best of You, the agency that represents two of the holders the night of Ajax, Benzema and Casemiro, downgrades the coup: "The image together to raise a great title revalues the player, but brands do not bets of two months, but of years. In the market neither rise nor fall because of what has happened, "he says. Although the shake itself has had other effects: the day after the defeat had scheduled a photo session with one of the players for a magazine that decided to cancel.
From Bahia, the largest Spanish representation agency, its CEO, José Antonio Martín Otín, Petón, disagrees: "The value of the player is in direct proportion to the success just obtained. How many operations have been made after winning a World Cup or a Champions … Overvaluing the player. Is it worth the same for a player who is among the 10 best in the world that one who is among the top 40? How many Madrid players will be among the top 40 next year? "He asks.
Petón points to specific cases: "To Nacho last year you did not sell it for less than 55 million, but now … And forget about getting paid for Bale." He also sees some opposite tendency: "A football player who emerges like a swan, Vinicius. Its market price now can not be less than that Liverpool accepted from Barça for Coutinho "He says.
Less sensitive to tripping is the financial scaffolding of the club, the richest in the world in 2018, according to Deloitte. United remained the club with the most revenue until 2017, despite the fact that its last Champions League was in 2008 and its last Premier, in 2013. The most substantial contracts, such as television rights, are negotiated for periods of up to a decade. Madrid has an agreement with Adidas until 2020 that contributes 52 million per year (42 fixed and 10 variables) and another with Fly Emirates for the sponsorship of the shirt renewed in 2017 until 2022: 70 million a year. With Adidas it has negotiated to extend agreement until 2030 for 110 annual fixed and 40 variable. Solid base and bonuses for results.
The first year that Madrid is without titles in March since 2006 (when Florentino resigned), is also the course in which the partners approved debt in 575 million to 35 years to remodel the Bernabéu. The works should conclude in four years. The project has been explained by the need for new revenues, in an environment distorted by the state clubs (PSG and Manchester City). Perez says he will contribute 150 million extra annual.
The recent hiring policy, without huge disbursements, has been conditioned by reform and inflation. In the club already indicated last year as a symptom the salary of Alexis in the United, about 20 million net annual. They said that there were players who could buy, but whose salaries could not be assumed; not only for them, but for the cascade effect in the template. Hence the turn towards young people. However, the disaster can push the precipitation. According to Esteve, "because of the good results in the Champions League, Madrid has not had the urge to buy, but now that changes and it is bad to go to the market with emergencies".
Before that, the sinking team must complete the remaining 12 league games (six at the Bernabéu). No incentives for a step between anger and sadness. "Some Real Madrid fans can think that now they can only celebrate a stumble of Barcelona in the Champions League", says Jorge Valdano; "The expectation of the Champions gave the club a huge image blow in the whole world. In recent years, just because of the effect of the Champions League, Barcelona won the international race again. "
Efigenio Albadalejo, president of the Ramón Mendoza club, very close to Florentino, foresees few tickets: "League matches are going to be tough", he says, and explains that they have canceled the usual party of the anniversary of the club in April, at that the white president and several players go: "Things are not for that. It's not a good drink for Florentino, "he explains. "The worst thing about the fall was the form. That paint your face in your house, twice the Barça, and be out of everything in a week, is something I had not seen in 52 years as a member, "he laments.
The end of the white disintegration against Ajax did not spare a cruel detail: injuries, VAR, an expulsion and the worst historical European result at home. Madrid is a giant fallen with a crash, but still a giant. Colorful in the crash, but still far from accompanying PSG as a candidate for losers. In the last chapter of the series, Van de Velde reflects on what extreme defeat leaves in sight: "Who you really are, what you're made of," he says.