Atletico Madrid: We need third-party investment funds to help compete

Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin says his club could not compete at the top level without the help of third-party investment funds, while maintaining no outside party has ever forced Los Colchoneros to sell a player against their own will.

In the last three seasons, Atletico have won the La Liga title, the Copa del Rey and Europa League, and also reached the Champions League final. The club have simultaneously been battling against debts which reached over 500 million euros, including tax arrears which have been reduced recently but still total around 80 million euros.

Atletico's on-pitch achievements have come about thanks at least in part to support from sources as diverse as Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes, the Azerbaijani government, Singapore businessman Peter Lim, and most recently Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin and English advisor Peter Kenyon.

Gil Marin, the son of former Colchoneros president Jesus Gil y Gil, told El Larguero that this global search for resources had been necessary for Atletico to be successful.

"We have used investment funds, I believe we were the first," Gil Marin said. "They were necessary. They have helped us to grow. If you want to compete you need resources and if you want resources these days you have to look for them abroad.

"The battle is to be global, as only then can you make the Champions League quarterfinals regularly and attract sponsors and money. Five years ago I began to travel all over the world looking for financing from investors. Thanks to all that we can compete again and are sixth in the [UEFA] ranking."

Atletico have, meanwhile, also regularly sold their best players each summer, with stars including Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao and Diego Costa having all left the club in big-money deals.

Despite the number of high-profile exits, however, Gil Marin claims Los Colchoneros have never been in a position where they have been forced by investors to sell a player.

"Atletico never did any business with a fund who had more than 50 percent of the economic rights of a player," he said. "That way Atletico has always decided the future of its players."

The chief executive said he had a good relationship with Mendes -- agent to the likes of Falcao, Costa and highly-rated youngster Saul Niguez -- although Mendes has a direct stake in just one current Atletico player.

"My relationship with Jorge Mendes is good, just as with most agents," Gil Marin said. "He has just one player with us, he has 50 percent with Raul Jimenez, no others."

Gil Marin said that former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Kenyon -- who has more recently been reportedly working with Mendes to help investors buy stakes in promising young players -- is a useful advisor for Atletico.

"[Kenyon] has been working with us for some time," he said. "His years at Umbro, Manchester United and Chelsea show his worth. All this knowledge and experience is at Atletico's service."

FIFA has recently announced plans to eventually ban the use of third-party investors worldwide, but Gil Marin said that regulating such funds would be better for football.

"It is good to regulate them," he said. "I am not in favour of banning them. For the clubs which need funds to compete, like Atletico, they have been very good.

"Today, thankfully, the club is more stable due to its revenues. We have 125 million euros of ordinary revenues, [but] if you want to compete with big teams you need not less than 200, because players want to earn money. If not you lose that ability to compete."