A few random thoughts…
So, Senor Scolari, what first attracted you to the £7million-a-year job coaching in Uzbekistan?
Barely five months after being sacked by Chelsea, Luiz Felipe Scolari is back in football this weekend as he oversees his first game in charge of Uzbek champions Bunyodkor.
No matter how hard Scolari tries to present his new job as a footballing challenge – “I had offers from other clubs and national teams but I thought they presented the same situation that I had in Chelsea” – Scolari has taken the cold hard cash on offer from a club with close ties to Islam Karimov, the controversial president of the oil-rich former Soviet state.
Bunyodkor have declined to reveal how much Scolari is being paid for his 18-month contract, only saying that is more than the £6.75million a year he was on at Chelsea before being given the boot.
And who can blame Scolari for taking the money? With his reported £6million pay-off from Chelsea still burning a hole in his pocket, he need never work again. Indeed, he may never work again, at least not in western Europe. Scolari remains a coach who has worked wonders at national team level, with Brazil and Portugal, only to fail to cut at elite European club level.
Just when clubs across Europe thought some semblance of normality was returning to this summer’s transfers, along comes Florentino Perez to singlehandedly re-inflate the market.
By paying top-dollar for Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, Real Madrid have forced up the price for other leading players such as David Villa, Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas admitted this week that they could no longer afford to ignore the rising pricetags being applied to Benzema.
Wise counsels in France have been advising 20-year-old Benzema would against move to a new club and a new country less than 12 months before a World Cup. But he may not have much say in the matter.
At least people are starting to question how Real Madrid are going to pay for their spending spree.
Perez hit out at his critics this week but is still extraordinarily flaky about his figures.
I’ve done a back-of-a-fag-packet calculation (which is more than Perez seems to have done). Assuming a generous £10 profit on every replica shirt sold, Real Madrid would have to sell shirts to one in every 100 of the world’s population to fund the estimated £600 million needed to pay the wages and transfer fees of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.
Either that, or find another training ground to sell.