Being broke as a joke may eventually prove beneficial

Financial constraints might do away with Atlético’s culture of mindless spending


Atlético have spent a grand total of
€1 million in transfers this summer (EFE)

With the news that playmaker Diego – who was crucial to Atlético’s European success last season – will not be coming back to the club after his one-year loan spell making the rounds last week, it’s easy to lament the dire state of Atleti’s (and Spanish football as a whole’s) finances.

The news about the gifted midfielder’s definitive return to Wolfsburg came on the back of reports confirming perpetual Atlético target Borja Valero’s sale to Fiorentina for a frustratingly-discounted price of €7 million.

We also recently offloaded Alvaro Domínguez and Eduardo Salvio, two talented but inconsistent youngsters who nonetheless have already won a couple of UEFA trophies with los Rojiblancos, just to square up the club’s finances, with the sale of another regular starter – possibly Diego Godín or Miranda – reportedly in the cards.

José Manuel Jurado’s return, for better or worse, was deemed impossible because of his price tag: a whopping €5 million.

Los Colchoneros’ ‘big market club’ status is unquestionably advantageous (more money from TV rights than the vast majority of the league, jersey sales, ticket sales, etc.), but the club’s soaring debt after years of frivolous spending, especially in recent seasons (Salvio, Elias, Godín and, oh hell, why not, Falcao), makes the reckless nature of our front office and the fact that directors have no real, underlying long-term plan, more than clear.

But as the old saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”, and Atleti, succumbing to the plague of financial woe, will not be able to simply buy ready-to-hit-the-ground-running replacements for retiring, departing, or sold-off players.

In order to survive, los Colchoneros will have to redefine the culture at the Vicente Calderón and find new ways to assemble a competitive squad year-after-year.

Coaches will be compelled to give more opportunities to home-grown talent–footballers that have the image of the bear eating the fruit of the Madroño tree from the club’s crest tattooed into the back of their eyelids.

There will be a long-term plan in place taking the youth system in consideration. Why spend €10 million on a replacement just to displace an up-and-coming canterano who can do the job just fine while simultaneously raising the spirits of the Rojiblanco faithful pulling for their prodigy?

Eventually, if we get our wallet in order, we can have the best of both worlds a la Barcelona, for example, where holes in the squad can be filled by an academy member and in the event that a proven commodity becomes available on the market, we can snatch him up as well as needed.

  • Rob

    Lovely piece, Martin. That third from last paragraph especially makes a Colchonero smile! I only wonder if any of this will be possible, since we seem to be increasingly controlled by shady football agents like Jorge Mendes.

  • what is with that bear on the crest anyway? Am i missing something?

  • DJ_ZA

    Certainly does make things far more interesting… and will make any success we achieve that much sweeter. Life gets so dull when you can buy anyone you want (lol)

    Luv the pic and caption 😉

  • Shlomgar

    The sign of the city of Madrid, a bear hugging an apple tree. its on the Atleti crest as well. there’s like a dozen different stories about it’s origin but they say there were bears in Madrid for some period of time…

  • Ringo

    Maybe they’ll become Werder Bremen-ish?
    They aren’t, besides a few exceptions, big spenders.

  • Matt

    The problem comes from the spanish soccer system itself, no just the clubs!

    Do it like the Bundesliga and in 10 years everything will be fine again!

  • leika

    Cantera all the way!!! And it looks like Botia is going to Sevilla. So our financial status is really bad. I think that in the past we have done bad transfers. Not that the players are bad but we made transers that were above our budget and we didnt look into future. It was long seen that that kind of tactis will soon lead us into crisis. Hope our board has learned frrom those mistakes and we will play more cantera players and rely more on them so we could ensure our future.

  • Fernando Llorente is a free agent!!!!!! He hasn’t renewed his contract with Athletic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'t-renew-with-marcelo-bielsa?cc=3888

  • palc

    Nelson Valdez goes to Valencia. Probably on a bargain deal too. Love that guy.

  • Shay


    So you want Llorente, A very coveted striker, to join a broke-ass, mediocare club where he will warm the bench, instead of going to England to a bigger club with bigger paycheck and more playing time?

  • Ratchet

    @Shlomgar Thanks, i always wondered what it meant. Im glad I know now. Oh, and on the topic of llorente, i wouldnt want him. We should reserve the bench for our cantera, not fill it up with people who will leave in 2 years time

  • Urban

    Guys, if he didnt renew it does not mean he is a free agent. He will be free agent next year, he is still one year on cotract. It is true that it may mean that he can be bought for cheap, but he can not come for free.

  • leika

    We have been linked with Roger Espinoza of Kansas City.

  • JimboWithTheDancingShoes

    Yeah so has Four other spanish clubs, so the likelyless of that happens is not that Big;)

  • Imran

    Does anyone know about the situation of Malaga ???????

  • palc

    Keep in mind that we can sign a Non-EU player as Salvio is gone. I would like an up and coming South American star. A new Aguero, but a cheaper one of course.

  • Martin Rosenow

    Are you assuming Miranda, Falcao or Costa will be leaving palc?

  • palc

    Oh I forgot that dude. Costa is it? Well never mind.. 🙂

  • ABCD

    What does everyone think about the Godin to Liverpool rumors?

  • Ringo

    Good if there’s replacement ready.
    He’s good for the overall defending, but his blunders are breaking my balls.

    So, only if there’s a certain replacement who is smart.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I hope Godin stays. Like I said, he hasn’t performed at Atleti as good as he does with Uruguay, but I know he can do better and he is 26 so he still has years ahead of him.
    Maybe this could be Godin’s best season and we finally see the great defender that helped Uruguay finish 4th in the 2010 World Cup and won the Copa America. Godin has had his ups and downs but when he is good shape, he is a solid defender.

  • Calle

    We only own 50 % of godins rights. That means that there is not much money to be made for the club if hi is sold. Hopefully the board won’t make another Heitinga/Jurado sale…

  • Javi Lozoya

    Speaking of youth South American talent check this video out,
    His name is Juan Cazares, he is from Ecuador but plays for River Plate. They signed him for 1M dollars. He was named as the U 20 Copa Libertadores best player. He is an attacking midfielder but can also play as a winger. Interesting prospect huh, what do you guys think?. He could be cheap although I suppose River might want to sell him for a good offer.

  • Dircil

    nice scouting Javi

  • Shay

    By the way, Ujfalushi was awful too and after a few seasons became very solid.. Keep Godin..

  • Shlomgar

    Javi Lozoya@ I’m as dazed as you by the sight of young promising players but for now, with the likes of Oli, Manquilo and Niguez on the ready, we should focus on the complete Atleti product for this year. Most alarming is the defense state with two players in danger of moving.

    Godin is the lesser problem in my opinion, his exit will pay for a replacement if a deal would go through. The back would not start as well as last season but would, in time, get stability and sync. The one I’m more worried about is Pulido, an Atleti product, able to replace CB & LB. In a D-Line that include only 7 players that’s a treassure. He’s unhappy with Cholo’s choice of never meddling with his back quattro, and would leave if given a chance.

    After last year’s successful “Free Koke” campaign, guess this one we should be chanting “Let’s go Puli” , “Yes Pulido can” or “Pulido, we chose you”.

  • yon

    Reading today that Porto are going to report us to UEFA/FIFA over the final instalment of the Falcao transfer?

  • JimboWithTheDancingShoes

    I read That too, but it is said that Porto have agreed a deal were we are gonna pay our dept on him with a little delay;)

  • Malaga has to play Panathanaikos in the CL so if they cannot sort out their financial issues we’ll have to play them who we played a couple seasons ago i the CL qualifying, not so??

  • Shalak

    Porto could file a complaint to Fifa after it was alleged that Atletico Madrid have failed to fully pay the latest instalment for Falcao … :/
    and btw it is official, Malaga will play in the Champions League this season, first match against Panathinaykos!

  • leika

    I hope that finally our board has stopped spending money recklessly like they used to during last couple of years and we have finally focusing on our cantera and homegrown players. The way we can earn back some money is to win trophies and I’m all in for that. I guess that in the near future there aren’t gonna be any major signings and instead we are probably gonna sell some important players. I hope that by that time our youngsters are ready to fulfill those spots. And by the way how is that possible that a club with this kind of reputation hasn’t caught the eye of some big companies (for sponsors).

  • leika

    I wanted to add that there is also a chance that the club will be sold to a new investor. If that happens I hope that we are not gonna do the same that PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City are doing and instead use the money to improve infrastructure and invest more in youth academy and scouting for prospects.