Free Spending Fails to Pay for Real Madrid

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The last time Real Madrid played Manchester United in the Champions League 10 years ago, they did so as defending champions, way back in the day when David Beckham was still United's No 7 and no one felt the need to preface the Brazilian Ronaldo's name with the identifying adjective "fat".

What a game it was at Old Trafford that night. Beckham, in the last throws of his feud with Sir Alex Ferguson, and mad as hell about it, came off the bench and scored twice. But even he was upstaged by the brilliance of Ronaldo, applauded off by the entire stadium for his hat-trick when he was substituted and afforded first dibs on the post-match buffet.

Madrid, who won the Champions League in 1998, 2000 and 2002, were eliminated by...

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