UEFA, Rummenigge and....Malaga?
City certainly put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons in announcing the most amazing sponsorship deal in football history last week.
The established order or Europe's so-called elite clubs is mortified at how far City has come so quickly and are driving Michel Platini and his merry men to examine the deal with a fine tooth comb to see if it upsets their interests. Maybe Platini should be appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, he knows that much about finance.
UEFA need to take note pretty quickly that City is now big business. Ultimately everyone will want a slice of what City can bring to the game of Association Football and in the end UEFA could find themselves a bit isolated in trying to deny them that.
Except, of course, for an unlikely ally in Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who not only doesn't like the price being stated for Jerome Boateng and appears to complain about just about anything that doesn't go Bayern's way but insists that City is being disrespectful in not talking to him. Karl-Heinz, if you have offered £12m for a £20m player and we have said 'No' what else is there to talk about? You are one of the wealthiest clubs in Europe, so pay the money and get your man.
No doubt there will be similar murmurings from other clubs as the pre-season develops. Real Madrid won't like what City is charging for Tevez, none of the former 'Top 4' will like the competition now being offered by City. You can take it as read (or red) that Stretford's Finest will step up to the plate as they seem to have done already moving their shopping basket swiftly around the football supermarket. Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool will all be feeling uncomfortable as City continue their progress with the Premier League and a reasonable Champions League debut in their sights.
Real Madrid will be feeling it from both sides now as C.F. Malaga S.A.D. embark on a similar journey to that of City.
In the mid-90s, as inexpensive transport to Spain burgeoned under the auspices of easyJet, I used to go to watch Malaga quite frequently. I watched them in Segunda and was there when they finally gained promotion to La Liga in 1999. Indeed I was also at the Camp Nou when they beat Barcelona 2-1 with a winning goal by that household name Valcarce.
Malaga have many parallels with City. On the brink of extinction in the mid 90s, on the verge of falling into the regional leagues of 'Tercera', they clawed their way to join the Spanish elite.
Realising that the Estadio de la Rosaleda was crumbling around them and believing they would be in La Liga for ever they set about re-building their stadium on side per season. The team didn't improve, they sold their best players and finshed up with a fantastic stadium and second division football.
Now having climbed away from that and having survived a couple of scares they have been taken over by wealthy owners, have Pelligrini, who did wonders at Villareal, as their manager and are now being mentioned as a destination club for Sneijder and Tevez. And they have recently changed the shade of blue in their 'blanquiazul' strip to nearer sky blue than royal blue.
Platini will have a fit if Malaga was to qualify for the Champions League as it will present him with another challenge. Madrid want Tevez but on their terms which don't suit City. The deal being muted is around £28m plus either Benzema or Higuain, neither of which Mancini fancies (although a fit Higuain does know the route to goal).
So City will not let themselves be pushed around by a so-called European heavyweight leaving the possibility of Real being trumped by....Malaga? How would the Frente Bokeron like that?
The footballing times are changing. The cozy relationships are being tested by the nouveau-riche lead by Manchester City and no matter how many times the old stagers take their hankies to Nyon, they will ultimately have to grow up and move on. The bottom line is that UEFA cannot really ignore City or even set themselves up against them, because City will be where the money is in terms of European football going forward and will UEFA starve its own coffers to try to prove a point?
Alternatively what is there to stop the Abu Dhabi Group challenging world football and setting off a new style of European League based along the lines of the franchises of the NFL in the USA?
The Group and it's allies have all the constituent parts necessary to make that a success and if they haven't they can buy them. Food for thought?
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