When Real Madrid and Barça hire for non-sporting reasons
Oftentimes, a player’s arrival may have somewhat ulterior motives. Doing a favor to a friend’s agent by hiring his foal is a relatively common practice, especially at mid- or lower-table clubs. Among the big teams, we know that we look very much at the marketing side, and that some famous players can generate additional sources of income beyond the simple sports aspect through the sale of derivative products or certain commercial agreements. In Real Madrid and FC Barcelona side, this second training is very frequent. In the early 2000s, Florentino Perez’s famous galactic recruitment policy was based on this, the best example being David Beckham, while in Catalonia, it was known that some attractive ones, such as Neymar, of course, with a sporting logic above all, would pay off. larger than the field.
But in the last decade, the two giants of Spanish football have carried out several operations that sometimes go beyond sports and classic marketing, which is aimed at selling a lot of shirts in X countries or X continent. For example, the arrival of James Rodriguez, who starred in the 2014 World Cup at Real Madrid, secured ACS, Florentino Perez’s group, an €820 million construction site in Colombia and its operation. . It was a big blow for the multinational company headed by the president of Real Madrid, who is used to such strikes, as the reigning European champion’s American tours also coincided with several contracts signed by ACS in California. Same for Keylor Navas and Costa Rica. Thus, Real Madrid does not hesitate to recruit players from a country to facilitate relations and communication with the government authorities of the said country. Peres can establish his activities there more easily.
Brazil, Barça’s hunting ground
Less disturbing and more amusing is Edwin Congo’s arrival in Madrid from Once Caldas in 1999. In the Libertadores match with “River Plate”, the young Colombian striker crushed the Argentine club with a double. What did not escape the young supporter of “Real Madrid”, who wrote a letter to the management of the merengue to praise the qualities of the player and convince him to hire him. And the player has come to Madrid well, even if he is far behind. The arrival of Take Kubo in 2019 also met the obvious financial interest in Japan, where the people of Madrid knew there was a lot of commercial potential to be exploited. His compatriot Pipi, 19 and still a youth at Real Madrid, recently signed a huge deal with Rakuten Sports, the giant agency that will handle the marketing and advertising rights in his homeland. Which will logically have a positive effect on the club in the capital of Spain.
The Barcelona side have a somewhat problematic package of transactions. We’re thinking of this famous Pyanic-Arthur swap with Juventus in 2020, but it wasn’t. The Catalans would pay 60 million euros for the former OL, and the Turinese would pay 72 million euros for the Brazilian. An operation that mainly serves to hide the financial balance of the two teams and is the focus of justice of the transalpine country. What happened around Paulinho, who arrived from Guangzhou Evergrande in 2017, has many people on the other side of the Pyrenees questioning. The Brazilian midfielder, who joined the team for 40 million euros, returned to his original club a year later for 42 million euros. What a question to ask…
Let’s wash friends!
It must be said that Barça and Brazil are a beautiful love story. On the field, with Neymar, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo or Romario, but not only. In January 2020, Barca signed an unknown footballer named Matheus Fernandes for 7 million euros. The midfielder would never play for Barcelona and was loaned out to Valladolid after his arrival, making just 3 La Liga appearances… before leaving for Palmeiras on a free in 2021. Some would say it was a simple recruitment error, but the close ties to Barça and the presence of Palmeiras and the club’s unofficial advisor André Cury in the past don’t really encourage giving Barça the benefit of the doubt. In the past, the Traffic agency that Kuri works for has managed to land many Palmeiras players such as Keirrison (€14M) or Henrique (€10M) to the Catalan club, all of which have failed. Very strange transfers, but not the only transfers, after which Barca brought in another sensation Danilo, who belonged to Traffic again but developed in Sao Paulo, or Yerry Mina, a Colombian defender who developed well in Palmeiras and cost 12 million euros. will do. in Barcelona. Players like Gabriel Novaes or Robert Gonçalves also arrived in Barça’s B team before leaving Catalonia without pain or glory.
The repetition of certain specific names – Palmeiras, Cury, Bartomeu/Rosell, Traffic – throughout their operations logically leaves little doubt that there are interests outside of the sport, especially as none of these players have shown that they are not at the level they could even be as a replacement player at Barcelona. In an article published in 2020, we specifically note the connection between all these parts: “Ciudad Condal boss Josep Maria Bartomeu’s predecessor and ex-Nike employee Sandro Rosell was also at the origin of the deal signed between the American equipment manufacturer and the Brazilian national team in the 90s, which Traffic signed. hit a huge jackpot. An agreement that the American justice later investigated in depth. The Catalan leader then went to prison after a brawl in which we found two common denominators, Traffic and Brazil. These were bribery and money laundering (€20 million) in the context of acquiring image rights for Brazilian qualifiers..
Curry puts Barça in the sauce
Cury’s double hat is also a concern for Barca, as if he was involved in Neymar’s arrival in 2013…he was also involved and received commissions on his move to Paris four years later. We also know that some deals were made because of him and because of him. In 2018, Emerson was offered to FC Barcelona, at which time he did not agree. Today, the side at Tottenham later changed agents, bringing in André Cury. Six months later, he was officially signed as a new player for Barça. André Cury is also behind the arrival of Igor Gomes to FC Barcelona U19 under questionable circumstances. The Catalans have settled a €300,000 fee for the player to train at Cohimbra Sporte in 2019. In addition, the player played in “Volta Redonda”, a modest club of Rio de Janeiro. On landing at Le Prat airport, the license would be exchanged before heading to Barcelona, where no one knew the player. The footballer returned to Brazil last summer completely indifferent.
It is not only in Brazil that Barça suffered a few embarrassments. In January 2019, FC Barcelona announced the signing of Frenkie de Jong, one of the most highly rated players of the era. The Catalans beat PSG and several big European clubs in this matter. A few months later, the La Liga club’s B team announced the arrival of 20-year-old right-back Mike van Beijne from NAC Breda. Van Beijnen is an operation that would be overlooked if it weren’t for Ali Dursu’s son… Frenkie de Jong’s agent. A way to thank him for bringing his client to Barcelona. Unsurprisingly, the level of the player was lacking and he did not last long in Catalonia, leaving the club after six months without playing a single minute with Barça B in the Spanish third division. There is no doubt that on the side of Barça, like Real Madrid, and like most clubs around the world, there are many transactions where with a little digging we can find some gray areas …