Tough times ahead for Europe’s cash-rich clubs, says Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho
REAL Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is ready to embrace UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules and has warned the new breed of cash-rich clubs that difficult times may lie ahead.
European football's governing body, led by president Michel Platini, has finally approved the application of a system of financial measures designed to restore stability to football across the continent.
Perhaps alarmed by the rise of free-spending clubs such as Manchester City and Paris St Germain, UEFA have moved to encourage clubs to live within their means by spending less than they earn while also limiting player salaries.
Founded 110 years ago, Real Madrid have enjoyed domestic and continental success rivalled only by Catalan outfit Barcelona and a handful of other clubs.
And Mourinho insists that it is Real's heritage, and that of other European giants, that will protect his club from any negative repercussions when the new regulations are applied.
The Portuguese told AS: "Madrid, Barca and Bayern are all clubs that have a unique history.
"You can't buy that with money. The titles, the European Cups, the history, the fanbase, you can't achieve these things just by spending money.
"And all the best players want to be at these clubs, at these three clubs and a few others that have hundreds of trophies between them.
"It's still an important factor for the players. Then you have to bear in mind that Financial Fair Play is coming in soon, and Platini says he wants it followed to the letter.
"They are going to impose restrictions on clubs that aren't well structured and make life difficult for them, even if they have piles of money.
"I know my club Madrid well and the infrastructure is in place to cope (with the new rules).
"Real Madrid has the potential and the history to keep the best players, such as Cristiano (Ronaldo), (Iker) Casillas, (Karim) Benzema and (Gonzalo) Higuain. Barca are the same.
"But clubs that live exclusively on the funds of their owners won't find life so easy, because they don't have the structure of the historic clubs.
"And that's why Financial Fair Play will be good for football."
The double Champions League-winning coach insists, however, that professional footballers should not be criticised for joining free-spending clubs in pursuit of large wage packets.
He added: "This week Zenit St Petersburg have signed Hulk and (Axel) Witsel for 100million euros.
"These are players you think would sign for one of the top Champions League teams.
"Money is still important for footballers, but mainly for the average earners. If you're already earning five million euros every year you're not going to go somewhere else for five-and-a-half.
"But an average person earning 12,000 euros a year would certainly change jobs if offered 40,000 elsewhere.
"It's logical because it's life-changing. The Hulk and Witsel situation will be repeated over the coming years.
"But prising a big star away from an historic club will not be as easy. It's the new reality to which we must adapt."