Real Madrid has regained its place as the richest football club in the world.
Yet the club’s president Florentino Perez and its board of directors admit they have a deep sadness at the fact rival clubs Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern Munich command much more love and respect globally.
“I just don’t understand it,” said Pérez. “You would think football fans would love that we pay way over the odds for the top players after every major international tournament.
“Plus we have some of the most likeable footballers in the world – included the talented but humble Cristiano Ronaldo to the loveable Sergio Ramos – and sack our manager at the end of every season if we don’t win a ton of trophies.
“I’m genuinely puzzled at why we don’t have more friends in the football community.”
Last year’s winners Man Utd, were unable to keep pace with Madrid and Barcelona.
Because footballers in Spain see tax as very much an optional extra.
The European champions registered record revenues of €750.9m (£674.6m) last season, according to new figures by Deloitte.
Yet they remain distinctly unpopular.
“I invited Atletico over for tea last week.” said Real. “They said they couldn’t because their manager had grounded them for picking up too many red cards. Then I found out they went round to Valencia’s that night to play poker. I like poker! And I’ve got loads of money to gamble with. Why won’t they invite me?”
“Sevilla did agree to come for a beer but they didn’t stay long. We were having a lovely conversation about how shit their boots were and how fancy and expensive mine were. I don’t know what the problem is – you’d think they’d be grateful to be seen out with me…
(Additional Material: Chris Ballard and Dan Sweryt)