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Spanish success has a big price tag

While much of the soccer world anticipates a possible Champions League final between Real Madrid and Barcelona, the Europa League penultimate stage has a strong Spanish flavor as well with Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, and Valencia among the last four.

But success has a price for Spanish soccer as clubs owe more than $984 million in back taxes. The worst offender: Atletico Madrid with an unpaid tax bill of $202 million. The $65 million it received from Manchester City for Sergio Aguero last summer went straight to the taxing authorities. (The $52 million paid for Colombian Falcao was fronted by a third party, who owns his contract.)

Real Betis, Real Zaragoza, Racing Santander, Levante and Mallorca have all been in bankruptcy the last year. How are Real Madrid and Barcelona doing? Real Madrid is current on its taxes, but it has other debts of more than $222 million. Barcelona has an outstanding tax liability of $63 million and an overall debt of $476 million.

Read the whole story at Independent »

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