New Delhi: Sepp Blatter has in the past, in his role as president of football's world governing body FIFA, spoken out in concern at the size of transfer fees being paid between big clubs.
However, the £80 million paid out by Real Madrid secure the services of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United has attracted no such disapprobation from Blatter, who has instead welcomed the move as a sign that the game is as popular as ever.
Other figures from the world of sports administration, not least amongst them the president of football's European governing body UEFA, have opined that the figure is simply too much, its bloated nature highlighting football's increasing dislocation from a real world affected by the global economic depression.
Not to Blatter though, who told a press conference in South Africa today, "What does 80 million mean when 10 years ago another player with the same name (Ronaldo of Brazil) moved from one club to another for $50 million? It means that there is still a demand to have the stars."
"We are in a very sensitive market, in an economic crisis, but football remains a fantastic product, not just to buy or sell but a product that gives people what they want - emotions. They want the stars," he said
And the President went on to compare the price paid with that handed over by art collectors for valuable pieces that the public never sees.
"Ten years ago a painting from Picasso's Blue Period was sold by Sothebys in London for over 100 million. And what happened to the painting?" he demanded, rhetorically. They hid it somewhere so no-one could take it away. Nobody can see it. But you can see a football player once or twice a week, he is there, he is a star. You might say it is too much, but you have to put it in context of what football in our society is worth and what other things in our society are worth," he added.
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