Friday, 6 October 2006

Handbags at dawn...

Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón had a serious case of foot-in-mouth in an interview with BBC Radio Five Live when he firstly intimated that David Beckham would be retiring in two years' time (strenuously denied by Becks' spokesman) and secondly by suggesting that Roman Abramovich's Chelsea were hyper-inflating the football market by paying over the odds for their transfer targets (around 50 million euros for out-of-sorts Andrei Shevchenko this summer).

If it weren't bad enough that this sounds like a school playground whine - a big boy did it and ran away - it smacks of hypocrisy from a club who paid the current world record transfer fee of 73 million euros for Zinedine Zidane back in 2001. Admittedly the club was run by someone else at the time.

Chelsea's riposte was not long in coming, via Chelsea's director of communications Simon Greenberg, who could not help having a dig: "We run ourselves as much as we can as a plc and we are completely transparent about our accounts - which is something that cannot be said for many top European clubs, including, I would say, Real Madrid." Chelsea, transparent?

What was Calderón hoping to achieve? Having failed to deliver on his election promises (Cesc, Kaká), he compounds it with his inept media relations. The best Real can hope for is that he keeps his mouth shut in future.

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