MADRID - In a time of general economic crisis and with the football authorities trying to crack down on reckless spending, Real Madrid's incredible outlay of a reported 101 million euros ($133.5 million, £86 million, S$ 170 million) for Gareth Bale to many seems absurd.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger described the bid as a "joke", whilst new Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino claimed it showed "a lack of respect" given the current economic climate.
However, Bale's signing is merely the latest in a string of "galactico" signings Real president Florentino Perez has made during two spells in charge of the club aimed at simultaneously boosting Madrid's success on the field and commercial revenue off it.
Deloitte's latest Money League report showed that Real had become the first football club to generate more than 500 million euros a year, whilst Forbes ranked Los Blancos as the most valuable sports team in the world last month with an estimated value of $3.3 billion.
Indeed in 2011/12 Madrid's income rose by seven per cent to 512.6 million euros with commercial revenue - the sector to benefit most by big name signings - growing by nine per cent.
That figure will rise significantly again in the financial results for the next two seasons as new and improved shirt sponsorship and kit supply deals with Fly Emirates and Addidas worth 29 and 31 million euros a year respectively take effect.
Real have now topped the charts when it comes to club earnings for eight consecutive years and age old rivals on the field Barcelona have become their closest competition as the Catalans' own commercial revenue boom has seen them occupy second place for the past four years.
Barca's revenue for 2011/12 was 483 million euros, but what is striking is just how far ahead the Spanish duo are from their competition on the continent.