For all the MLS soccer fans out there the question has always been how does our league stack up to those in Europe. If last night’s friendly at BMO Field was any indication – not well.
Before the mid way point of the first half Real Madrid star players Cristiano Rinaldo had a goal and Raul scored twice as their team cruised to a 5-1 win over Toronto FC.
I don’t think anyone in attendance thought the hometown team had a chance of upsetting the Spanish League powerhouse and more then likely no one really cared. Although the end result could have been much worse, the fans were treated to an incredible display of soccer. Real Madrid was all over the Reds from the get-go and gave everyone in attendance, including two-time NBA MVP guard Steve Nash, a preview of what to expect out of their squad this upcoming season.
How can you expect a team like TFC to compete with Real Madrid anyways? Taking it a step further how can you expect a league like MLS to compete with those out of Europe?
Real Madrid this offseason spent roughly 250 million Euros on five players. Five players. 80 on Rinaldo, 68.5 on the 2007 Football Player of the Year Kaka, 30 on Spaniard Xabi Alonso, 41 on French striker Karim Benzema and 4 on Alvaro Arbeloa. The mind-boggling thing about the money that was spent on so few players is that they spent that much on just the transfer fees and doesn’t include any of the other star players on the team.
What team in the MLS has that kind of money to spend on players? The answer is simply none. I would think you would be hard pressed to find a million dollar contract in the league. Sure David Beckham makes a truckload of money, but most of it is endorsement cash and not his actually playing salary.
The top players in the world go where they get paid top dollar and unfortunately that is not in the MLS. European leagues sell out 70 thousand plus stadiums while TFC, for example, maxes out at 20 500. The corporate sponsorship oversees is enormous compared to that of what is generated in North America. SO there is no way MLS could compete with the European leagues the same way the CFL will ever compete with NFL.
So Toronto FC got pummeled last night in a friendly match – big deal. They got the experience of playing against arguably the best player on the planet, played in front of another packed stadium and most importantly got to play on real grass. With the all the frenzy surrounding the Real Madrid game out of the way, now TFC can focus on something more important – their first ever post season appearance.