Only one winner in Real Madrid debacle: Raul (again)

In the end 40 million had a rather pleasing symmetry to it.

That was the amount of cash – in Euros – that Man City dumped into the Bernabeu backyard for the whining services of Robinho.

That's the amount of broken promises Ramón Calderón is due to rack up by the time his potty presidential tenure runs out in 2010.

And that's the number of times the Real Madrid president has popped up in the media over the past fortnight to spout headline-enticing claptrap.

Monday was a truly spectacular day in the professional life of a rampant Ramón – a man who went through so many violent U-turns, he nearly drilled himself into the ground.

After promising Bernd Schuster late last week that Robinho would not be sold under his presidential nose, but instead be forced to buy out his contract, he duly flogged Robinho to Manchester City.

Calderón claims the sale was inspired by humanitarian reasons but La Liga Loca suspects it was just to see the Brazilian’s face fall faster than Diego Capel at the thought of years of rain-sodden runs and being yelled at by Sparky Hughes.

If that was the case, then all power to Calderón’s Armani-clad elbow.

Calderon: "I'm right behind you, Bernd"

After promising – according to Marca’s Roberto Gómez – that he would never, ever, ever nick another Spanish club’s players two weeks before the end of the transfer window, Calderón made yet another bid to buy David Villa on Monday afternoon.

That’s according to the Valencia sporting director of the week, Fernando Gómez, who revealed that the Real Madrid boss called Vicente Soriano to make a €55 million offer for the striker.

“The call happened but there was no time to react and Valencia, having already presented the renewal of Villa’s contract, were not going to sell the player,” said Gómez in Marca.

Surely, the Valencia man must be telling porky pies?

After all, Calderón said on Sunday that any signing at this late stage would be “an improper improvisation”. What’s more, the Real Madrid president also claimed, on Monday night, that no offers were ever made to Villa and Santi Cazorla. Instead, “Real Madrid said no to them.”

La Liga Loca suggests someone's pants are very much on fire.

Villa attempts to hide from the Bernabeu poachers

The Spanish press are poking their nose into what has been a ludicrous but enormously entertaining summer for Real Madrid on the transfer market.

AS editor, Alfredo Relaño, has branded the club’s on-their-knees-pretty-please last-minute bid for Villa as the "last joke of the summer” and blamed the factional infighting between, on the one side, sporting director Pedja Mijatovic and director José Sanchez, and on the other, manager Bernd Schuster and nobody's-really-sure-what-his-job is Miguel Angel Portugal.

Tomás Guasch writes that “the joy of May, when they beat Barcelona 4-1 and won the league has disappeared in 90 delirious days.”

But pity poor old Tomás Roncero who ends his half-hearted column by writing with Schuster mimicking, “I’m tired and I just want to go home”.

Meanwhile, the considerably more grown-up but considerably less entertaining El Pais claims that “the sale of Robinho is a victory for Mijatovic and a defeat for the manager” and writes that the Madrid sporting director “never wanted Schuster to be coach and he believes that he can do without him”.

The giant head of Mijatovic looks down upon creation

The paper reports that behind the scenes, the club is a highly dysfunctional family when it comes to the transfer market.

For any player to come to the club, they write, there needs to be a once-in-a-million-years-alignment between Calderón, Mijatovic, Schuster, Portugal, Sánchez and Rául - a player whose opinion is rated considerably higher than that of Schuster’s, according to the paper.

A Spanish radio station, interviewing a fluey Calderón, on Monday night, picked away at a similar theme by asking the Real Madrid president if the club captain had vetoed the purchase of David Villa – the man who nabbed his spot in the Spanish team, let’s not forget.

“Raúl would never block anyone coming... I have spoken to him on a number of subjects but not this.”

"Well done, son. You'll never work in this town again"

Last week, Barcelona-based Sport ran a story – admittedly of a dubious nature – claiming that Madrid were going to make an audacious bid to bring Samuel Eto’o back to the Spanish capital, but that the move was blocked by the former international who did not fancy a season of bench-warming.

There is only one winner out of the whole Madrid mess. But an awful lot of losers.

Robinho is forced to spent the next several years out of the limelight and out of the Champions League with Manchester City. And that was a very avoidable situation.

The spin-doctoring (and very much for hire in this capacity) La Liga Loca suggests that a humble apology to the fans and especially to Bernd Schuster from Robinho, the sacking of his agent, the confession of being badly advised and a couple of cheeky goals and all would have been forgotten.

Schuster has to run a campaign that his president has now branded “a year of consolidation” knowing that his opinion at the club is completely without value.

Calderón has burned more bridges than a retreating Russian battalion and has been made to look like the George Bush of La Liga – incompetent, friendless and a bit thick.

Instead, it is Raúl who comes out on top and smelling of smoked ham – a player who knows that he can sit and drink tea for 90 minutes for every game of the year without ever suffering the consequences, knowing that there is nobody out there to replace him.