Real Madrid doesn't do austerity.
While recession-hit Spain continues to wrestle with the financial crisis, Real has spent big again by making Gareth Bale one of the most expensive football players -- if not the most expensive -- in history. The clubs didn't reveal the official fee Sunday when his switch was confirmed.
Europe's most illustrious club has previous experience in this regard and since the turn of the century, Real has broken the world transfer record on at least four occasions, with two-time president Florentino Perez eager to recruit what he refers to as "Galactico" star names.
But even Perez, the man for whom money is no object, momentarily winced at the fee commanded by Tottenham Hotspur for Bale earlier in August.
"€100 million seems a lot to me," Perez told ESPN Deportes.
Eventually, he refused to blink and in a country where unemployment is at 26.3%, the nine-time European champion has once again raised the bar in the transfer market.
"Bale's a very good player," Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino told reporters a week ago when asked about Real's pursuit of the Welsh winger. "But the numbers are lack of respect to the world in general."
At a time when most of Spain doesn't have two euros to rub together, you'd have thought Real's level of spending might also rile Madridistas -- but not a bit of it.
The view among many Real fans is that the club is a private enterprise and can do what it likes with the money that it has.
Their disdain is for Spain's political and financial establishment, rather than Perez and Real.
"What is truly immoral is how our leaders and banks steal from us, although if I think about it I'm not sure why I am surprised. They are just a reflection of the society in this country," 34-year-old warehouseman Enrique Gil told CNN.
"I consider it entertainment, something far removed from my day to day. I've never been interested in the financial aspects of football and it hasn't impacted on my support for Madrid," added Ignacio Servan, a psychologist and long-term season ticket holder at Real's Bernabeu stadium.
"Nothing must change your hobbies," added 36-year-old journalist Pablo Garcia Reales, who is back working having been unemployed for four months.
Servan and Reales are not alone in their views.
Fellow Real fan Antonio Velasco, who regularly attends the team's home matches, detaches the frivolity of football from the financial hardships faced by most Spaniards.
"It's important to contextualize and not mix both," explains 32-year-old marketing manager Velasco.
"As high as the fee may seem, I'm sure that the decision makers in Real Madrid would not spend this sum of money without being sure of a return on the investment."
However, Velasco was keen to explain how the Spanish people have had to adjust to living in unsettling times.
"It's hard to not be affected by things; one cannot help but be moved by families being removed from their homes by force, family and friends being laid-off, social cutbacks and an uncertain economic future," he added.
"The doubt is not good for the general state of mind but we've learned and are learning to cope with uncertainty."
Not every fan finds it so easy to turn a blind eye to football's excesses.
Spanish professional football has combined debts of $5.4 billion, while according to Spanish economist Jose Maria Gay de Liebana, Real's debts are approaching $800 million.
"As a Spanish citizen I think it is absolutely immoral," said marketing manager Javier Santos Martinez.
"I don't believe a football club can stop paying millions but a small family company must pay or they will have to close the business. If you take a look you'll be able to find every Spanish team owes a huge quantity."
Another Real supporter, Miguel Angel Lopez, who is currently unemployed, goes to Madrid's matches when he can.