An item in The Guardian this morning caught my attention. The paper echoes the announcement last month by Ramón Calderón that Real Madrid would have a Rugby section to add to their football and basketball, adding that the first step would be to sponsor an existing club, CRC Madrid Noroeste, with a view to incorporating them into the Real Madrid 'family' in a couple of years.
It is understandable that the current management team is seeking to increase and exploit the Real Madrid brand, but branching out into another sport à la Barcelona just seems to go against what the club is about. To be fair, the basketball section has been around since 1932 and is the most successful (in terms of trophies) in both Spain and Europe.
However, basketball is only second to football in terms of popularity in Spain, while rugby is a very long way behind. It is also not a sport with enough global projection at the club level to make any impact and it therefore seems like a vanity project for the president. The reasons for branching out have not been made at all clear, and I suspect, if it does end up happening, that it will be short-lived.
Real Madrid did have other sports sections in the past: volleyball (50s-80s) and handball (50s) but they have always been subsidised by football and eventually disappeared.
If Real Madrid really wants to pick a truly global Rugby team to sponsor, they could do little better than the All Blacks,although getting the team colours to show up might be difficult (all in white, geddit?).