Cristiano mania grips Real

MADRID - Real Madrid sold 15 Cristiano Ronaldo jerseys a minute at the club's shop at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in the two hours after the player's presentation on Monday, reports said yesterday.

MADRID - Real Madrid sold 15 Cristiano Ronaldo jerseys a minute at the club's shop at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in the two hours after the player's presentation on Monday, reports said yesterday.

The shop sold 2000 jerseys bearing the Portuguese striker's name and the number nine once sported by club legend Alfredo di Stefano during the two-hour period, at R962 each for a total revenue of R1,9 million, sports dailies AS and Marca reported.

In the rush, 300 black and white Ronaldo jerseys were stolen. The "Cristianomania" continued on Tuesday as the adult-size jerseys were sold out at the shop.

Ronaldo, 24, did much better than Real's other big-name new recruit, Brazil's Kaká, who joined the Spanish giants from AC Milan in early June for R727 million.

In the two hours that followed the 27-year-old's presentation at the Bernabeu stadium on June 30, the shop sold 600 Kaká jerseys, or five a minute.

About 75000 people turned out for the official unveiling of Ronaldo, compared with the 55000 who turned out to welcome Kaká to Real.

Ronaldo joined Real from Manchester United in June on a six-year deal worth around R1,052million and he will reportedly be paid R146 million each season, making him the most expensive player in the world.

In an interview published yesterday in AS, the 2008 Fifa world player of the year said the amounts involved in his transfer were justified.

"Of course one can pay this sum for me. I think even more. They all say no, but I say yes," he said.

Real Madrid is the largest revenue-generating club in the world, ahead of Manchester United and Barcelona, according to an annual ranking compiled by business advisory firm Deloitte.

It boosted revenues from sales of jerseys and other souvenirs after it began signing top players like France's Zinedine Zidane and England's David Beckham in 2000.

Real Madrid's capture of Brazilian star Kaká alone could be worth R813million a season in additional revenues to the Spanish club, according to sports business consultancy Weber Shandwick Sport. - Sapa-AFP

X