Real spending spree not normal, says Platini

PARIS (Reuters) - There is something “not normal” about the huge sums of money spent by clubs like Real Madrid in the transfer market, UEFA president Michel Platini was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Real took their recent spending spree to around 215 million euros (183.4 million pounds) when they signed French forward Karim Benzema from Olympique Lyon on Wednesday.

Benzema will follow Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazilian playmaker Kaka and Spanish defender Raul Albiol to the Bernabeu Stadium.

“Does the club making such enormous transfers have the money or not?,” Platini asked in an interview in Thursday’s French sports daily L’Equipe.

“The Ronaldo transfer, personally, puts a question to me, but then, if Real has a guarantee from banks....

“Personally, I can’t understand that you can spend 90 million euros on a player,” Platini added. “But I remember the transfer of (Diego) Maradona from Barcelona to Naples (in 1984). It must have been for the equivalent of 6.5 million euros and people already found it indecent.

“I think there’s something not normal in there. I don’t like all that, and even less the fact that today, contracts are being signed only to be breached. But then again, if the clubs have the money, what can I do ?”

Real’s director general Jorge Valdano, asked about Platini’s comments at a news conference later on Thursday, noted that the club was the richest in the world by revenue and had the capacity to generate a lot of cash.

“The strength and efficiency of this business was shown in the past and we will carry on doing it because this is a team that cannot aspire to be mediocre,” said Valdano, who was standing next to 15-million-euro signing Albiol.

“It’s a team that historically has aspired to lead and it’s impossible to do that without some of the best players in the world.”

(Additional reporting by Iain Rogers in Madrid)

Reporting by Patrick Vignal, editing by Ed Osmond and Sonia Oxley