While some clubs in Spain are struggling to pay their players, there are others – well, two – for whom money is no object.
Coincidentally, though probably not, those two clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid, who between them receive 46 per cent of all TV revenue in Spain, have announced plans to extend and renovate their current stadiums.
Barcelona are to approach their members for permission to extend the capacity of the iconic Camp Nou to 105,000, while Madrid have unveiled a £330m redesign plan they hope will turn their Santiago Bernabeu ground into the best stadium in the world.
German architects GMP’s design have won the international tender and work will begin at the end of the season. A new exterior will be built that includes a retractable roof and is due to be completed by 2017.
“We want to make the Santiago Bernabeu the best stadium in the world,” said Real Madrid President Florentino Perez.
“Our commitment is to continue increasing the heritage of our club, thus gain in economic strength, so we can continue to lead in an environment of increasing competition.
“It is impossible to understand everything that Real Madrid is today without this stadium. The stadium remodel is a strategic drive towards modernity. Building and raising the stadium was a challenge in its day.
Santiago Bernabéu paved the way and we became the leader in sports venues. This stadium and the signing of Alfredo Di Stéfano changed the legend of Real Madrid. The new twenty-first century Santiago Bernabéu will continue to be a privileged, emotional place and a source of pride for all our members and fans”.
“We believe in a project that will enhance our image, brand and city that we also feel proud of.”
Looking at the projected images of the new stadium, there will be much to be proud of.
Reports in the Spanish media suggest half the financing for the project would come from selling naming rights and the rest from a bond issue among Real members. The real cost though, will be paid by fellow Spanish clubs left behind by the Barcelona-Real Madrid duopoly, who can no longer compete and in some cases can no longer pay their players.