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When Real Madrid bought Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur, they didn't exactly have €100 million ($110.89 million US) lying around. They paid around a quarter of the fee up front, then promised to pay the rest in installments, with Spanish banks guaranteeing the deal in the event Madrid went bankrupt, so the Spurs could still get their money. This wouldn't be a problem normally, but one of the banks was given a €14 billion bailout by the EU government, so some members of European Parliament want an investigation into the deal.
"If taxpayers' money was used to underwrite the Gareth Bale transfer deal, then this is something the EU should investigate further," said British MEP Daniel Dalton, who was joined by two colleagues in calling for the investigation. "Real Madrid are the world's richest football club and if it has used a state-owned bank, owned by taxpayers to guarantee multi-million pound record transfer fees, then it is clearly something the EU should look to address to ensure there are no unfair competitive advantages given to football teams, supported by taxpayer-funded financial institutions."
Goal of the day
This stunner by Rafael Carioca of Atletico Mineiro, who went on to win this Copa Libertadores match.
In the news
Here's the Copa America draw pots and procedure. (ESPN FC)
The Italian FA is taking civil action against just about everyone involved in a match-fixing scandal except their current manager, Antonio Conte. (Football Italia)
Hugo Lloris is out for Spurs' Europa League match, and might be out this weekend, too. (BBC)
From dumb rumor land, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is trying to tell English teams to come and get him. (Guardian)
From extra dumb rumor land, Manchester United could sell Wayne Rooney to a Chinese team. (Mirror)
You should be reading
Glenn Billingham on the history of soccer in Amsterdam. (These Football Times)
Dustin Ward on how directness affects shot volume. (Stats Bomb)
Mark Murphy on the insult to our intelligence that is the FIFA election. (Two Hundred Percent)
What happened on Wednesday
Here's what we learned from Real Madrid's big win over Roma.
And from Wolfsburg's 3-2 victory against Gent.
What to watch on Thursday (click for listings, all times ET)
Europa League: 15 games (from 1 p.m.) -- We suggest Dortmund vs. Porto during the early slate and Sporting Lisbon vs. Bayer Leverkusen late.