Over the weekend third-tier Spanish club Real Oviedo were saved from extinction after receiving a huge injection of cash from the world's richest man Carlos Slim.
Hard times —
Oviedo fans show their support for the club in the Estadio Carlos Tartiere with a banner reading "For the future of Real Oviedo". The Spanish club had needed to raise €1.9 million ($2.4 million) by November 17 or go bust.
Global concern —
Earlier in November Oviedo's board announced a share issue to attract investment and save the club. Remarkably the scheme took off as fans from all over the world bought the €11 ($13) shares after Oviedo's precarious position was highlighted on the social media website Twitter.
"Extraordinary" gesture. —
Slim was so impressed by the interest of fans in Oviedo from across the world -- he described their support as "extraordinary" -- that the Mexican tycoon pumped in a further $2.5 million to become Oviedo's majority shareholder. According to Forbes magazine, Slim has a net worth of $69 billion, having made his fortune in the telecommunications industry.
Oviedo solidarity —
The Oviedo players huddle on the pitch before the match. Just over a decade ago Oviedo were playing in La Liga alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona, but mismanagement from the club's directors took the Asturian team to the brink of bankruptcy in recent years.
Soccer synergy —
In September, Slim bought 30% stakes in two Mexican football teams, Pachuca and Leon, and he plans to use Oviedo "to create synergies and exchanges between Spanish, Mexican and Latin American football.''
Depth of feeling —
Oviedo fans display a banner in the Estadio Carlos Tartiere reading: "Happen what may, Oviedistas until death." Of Slim's intervention, an Oviedo statement said: "This challenge and ambition is strictly a sports investment and one that looks to benefit the club and its fans. The investment will try to support Oviedo's players so they can reach their goals and the club can reach the division that corresponds to its history and values.''
Lowe down —
Spanish football expert and long-time Oviedo supporter Sid Lowe has been a key figure in publicizing the club's plight. "Naturally, I have reservations, doubts & concerns," tweeted Lowe last weekend. "But with c. €2m of shares bought by 13,000+ ppl round world & Slim buying €2m Oviedo safe."
Proud tradition —
World Cup winner Juan Mata is one of the stars produced by Oviedo's youth system. He now plays for England's European champions Chelsea.
Premier support —
Michu was a Real Oviedo player for four years and has been campaigning on Twitter to save the club. He now plays in the English Premier League with Welsh club Swansea.
Cazorla concern —
Arsenal's midfield maestro Santi Cazorla is another big-name player from Oviedo's academy who helped save his former club.
Slim's sporting interests —
Mexican tycoon Slim is pictured at the 2012 Homeless World Cup in October. His widespread interests include providing financial backing for Mexican Formula One driver Sergio Perez.