new-galacticosThe new Real Madrid group of superstar players are yet to show the brilliant football everyone knows they can play and what they can win, but in terms of popularity, they are lagging quite a bit behind the first “Galacticos” era. The current star-studded team with Christiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso have sold 25% less replica t-shirts than their predecessors in 2003, which consisted of David Beckam, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidan and the Brazilian Ronaldo. With t-shirts accounting for a large chunk of overall profits for many Spanish teams, this report by the economic channel Bloomberg will not please Real president Florentino Perez.

Of course, there are many factors that may have contributed to the decline in profits. One obvious explanation would be the global recession, which is hitting businesses everywhere. Another reason, however, might just be that the current stars are focused too much on the glamour in the tabloids rather than showing what they can do on the pitch—Real’s recent humbling in the Copa del Rey serving as a prime example. Benzema and co. are yet to earn the sort of legendary standing Zidane and Figo garnered over the years.

Or it all might have a more practical explanation—Real fans already have a “Ronaldo” shirt from the Brazilian superstar’s stay—so why buy a new one with the same name? A bit of recycling never hurt anybody. Whatever the reason, Real fans will be hoping their stars start earning their huge price tags where it matters most.

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