Gareth Bale has flown to the Spanish resort of Marbella ahead of his transfer to Real Madrid as the world-record fee for the deal was described as “disrespectful” by Barcelona’s new coach Gerardo Martino.
Madrid are poised to spend around £86 million (€100m) on securing the Tottenham forward, prompting Martino to declare last night: “Bale is a good player but the numbers that are being talked about; it is a lack of respect for the world we live in.”
Spanish professional football has a combined debt of €4.1 billion and owes the Spanish Inland Revenue €663m. Twenty-four clubs have had to go into administration to save themselves from bankruptcy in recent times but Real Madrid continue to thrive and will break the world transfer record for the fourth time with their staggering offer to Spurs, which will involve payments structured over four years.
Madrid have also offered to pay over a much shorter timescale in just two instalments but the fee would then drop to £78m.
The fact that two offers have been made and that Spurs have not finished their business in the transfer market continue to delay the closing of the transfer with Bale waiting to put pen to paper on a pre-agreed six-year deal that will see him paid around £8m per season.
Marbella’s head of tourism Jose Luis Hernandez confirmed that the Welshman is staying in the town, where his agent is believed to have a home. Madrid, meanwhile, have erected a temporary stage at the Bernabeu stadium ahead of Bale’s unveiling.
With the €60m to be paid in wages and the €100m (£86m) outlay in transfer fees Bale will end up costing €160m and Martino is not the first to criticise the size of the fee.
A Spanish economist and expert football finance, Jose Maria Gay de Liebana, said: “Madrid’s debt is approaching €600m. I don’t believe any footballer is worth €100m, not even Lionel Messi.”
Martino’s comments upset Real Madrid fans anxiously waiting for Bale to sign. Some have pointed to Messi’s recent problems with unpaid tax and Barcelona’s €57m outlay on Neymar as reasons why criticising Bale’s fee could be seen as hypocritical. Barcelona’s debt is believed to be around €471m.
“The problem is not the debt of the big club because they generate enough money a year to finance them,” added Gay. “The real problem is that the small clubs owe money too.”
When Bale signs it will take Madrid’s spending over the last 10 years to more than €1 billion. The 24-year-old is expected to be presented to fans on Tuesday.