As part of their sponsorship of Real Madrid, Audi give cars to all the players and hold media days where they are encouraged to race against each other.
It turns out that giving a group of competitive young men powerful sports cars is not a great idea, as Karim Benzema has been caught speeding at 135mph in his Audi RS5 4.2 FSI while racing his teammates.
The incident occurred after Los Blancos' loss to Grenada last month, as players made their way home on the Spanish capital's four-lane M40 motorway. Benzema, Alvaro Arbeloa, Jose Callejon, Sergio Ramos and Michael Essien were all pulled over and breathalysed, after driving significantly above the 70mph speed limit in a fleet of Porsches and Audis leased by the club.
Spanish newspaper El Pais says they all passed the breathalyser tests, while Essien accepted a €200 on-the-spot fine for driving at 105mph. Benzema, meanwhile, earned a court hearing that could earn him a six-month stint in prison.
Since footballers have expensive lawyers and the justice system is perverse, it seems unlikely that the striker will get anything more than an easily affordable fine for endangering the lives of his fellow road users. The court case, however, will have implications for his national side, as it clashes with a vital World Cup Qualifier. ESPN FC reports:
Los Blancos succeeded in getting the preliminary court sitting postponed from last Tuesday, so that their player could travel for the club's Copa del Rey semi-final at Barcelona. However, El Pais said on Friday that the case would now clash with the game between Les Bleus and La Roja, which will likely decide who tops Group I and qualifies directly for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Incredibly, however, the French striker was not even the fastest Madrid racer on the street when he was pulled over last month. The Guardian says another unnamed player was driving at more than double the speed limit, and was one of two cars going too fast for the police to safely pursue:
A police camera [...] clocked the car going at 162mph – not far short of the 185mph top speeds of Formula One racing cars — but failed to take a usable picture of the mystery car and no charges were brought.
When the German manufacturer was dishing out free cars to the team, Cristiano Ronaldo picked a V10 Audi R8 with a top speed of 186mph. Just saying.