Vatican questions Real Madrid spending spree

ROME - Real Madrid's extravagant spending risks inflating transfer fees and pushing clubs towards bankruptcy or into the hands of organised crime, Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano warned on Saturday. The return of Florentino Perez to the Real presidency sparked a spending spree of some 215 million euros Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil playmaker Kaka, French striker Karim Benzema and defender Raul Albiol so far in the close season. "It is good to ask oneself whether the figures paid by Real Madrid's president in a period of economic and financial crisis are justifiable from a purely economic viewpoint or whether they are inexplicable even under market laws," read an editorial by Gaetano Vallini. "It is also necessary to see whether they are compatible with, or destabilising for, the soccer world." The editorial quoted an OECD report that warned the sport is in danger of being infiltrated by organised crime. "The risk is that of giving life to an upward (price) spiral in a global economic situation that calls for more sobriety despite the holes in the balance sheets of many clubs, with the increasingly realistic possibility of ending up bankrupt, or in the hands of criminal organisations ready to invest their earnings from illegal activity in football."