Not that it deviates from the trend, but Real Madrid laid out big time cash for some big time players this week.
Perhaps in search of salvaging a rough start to their week, the Spanish club announced the contract extensions for stars Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo within days of each other. The announcements came soon after the richest club in the world settled for a draw in Champions League play against Polish club Legia Warsaw in Warsaw on Wednesday.
Reports back in the UK had Bale pegged as the highest paid player at Madrid, overtaking a mantle Ronaldo had a stranglehold on, and a title the Portugese star had a personal affection for. Rumors were swirling that Bale's contract paid the Welshman over $40 million in gross wages per year. Not to be done however, the team quickly announced an extension of Ronaldo's contract just before the weekend, in theory keeping him at the Bernabeu until 2021. Knowing Ronaldo, his extension likely ensures his place in the locker room as the highest earner. His extension keeps Ronaldo, 31, in a Madrid uniform until age 36; if he is still playing, which he said he expects to be.
To celebrate Bale treated the fans at the Bernabeu to a pair of goals against newly promoted Leganes. As a welcome to the top flight gift, Alvaro Morata added a third goal to seal the three points, 3-0. However Ronaldo was not able to do much celebrating, as he was held goaless at home yet again. Lately he had been on a hot streak, scoring five goals in seven domestic appearances. Despite the tally since September 10 he has not seen the back of the net at home.
The early part of this season has seen Real Madrid begin to lock up what could be called their core talent. Luka Modric, Tony Kroos and Lucas Vasquez have all signed extensions since the start of the current season. Pepe is said to be looking for an extension as is Spanish international Isco. In Pepe's case, his current contract expires this summer, and he is no longer a regular in the starting XI and will turn 34 in February. Isco has been playing more in Modric's absence and has provided some punch, as evidenced Sunday when he supplied Bale with the assist to open the scoring.
However Isco's place and desires are anything but a sure thing. Despite his occasional brilliance, he tends to lose possession too often, not something Zinedine Zidane is looking for out of the midfielders tasked with getting the ball from defence to the BBC.