On a sunny summer evening, the 32,000-capacity crowd came to bask in the reflected glory of the visiting luminaries and to celebrate their own club's bright future. José Mourinho showed off his full bejewelled squad and Cristiano Ronaldo and Co dominated an entertaining show, scoring through José Callejón and Karim Benzema before Lloyd Dyer ignited delirium by striking for the hosts with a fine volley in the 88th minute.

The result was, of course, incidental. Even the performance was secondary – though manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was pleased that his remodelled defence, which was so porous last term, was only breached twice.

What really mattered, perhaps, is that the appearance of Real solidified belief in one possible vision of Leicester – the glamorous one that Thai tycoon Vichai Raksriaksorn had when he bought the club last August for a fee that was undisclosed, but entailed taking over debts of around £26m.

Raksriaksorn does not pretend to be a football fan – polo is his true love – and on the website of King Power, the chain of duty-free shops from which he made his fortune and after which Leicester's stadium is now named, he does not conceal that the reason for his acquisition was "to internationally promote the reputation of Thailand and the capability of a Thai company to strengthen an English football club".

Therein lies the success of English football: it has become one of the planet's foremost luxury products and, as such, exerts a powerful lure for entrepreneurs from dynamic young countries eager for global validation.

Getting Leicester into the Premier League would, then, be a demonstration of Thai excellence. The point seems set to be underlined through the new regime's reign: pre-match entertainment ahead of the Real match was a performance by traditional Thai dancers; the first home match of the season will be preceded by a Muay Thai boxing tournament.

All of which seems to be welcomed by Leicester fans. It does, after all, suggest the new owners are committed to making the club successful. As does the fact that, so far, the Thais have backed up their ambitions with expensive ventures into the transfer market, unlike, say, the Asian owners of Birmingham and Blackburn. In addition to paying Real around £1m to come sprinkle magic dust in Leicester (the honour of competing for the inaugural "King Power Challenge Cup" apparently not being sufficient incentive for the nine-times European champions), the Thais have lavished cash as they seek a place in the Premier League.

"From the moment my father and I decided to buy the club, we had hoped that Leicester City would face the elite of world football," wrote Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn, the 26-year-old club vice-chairman and son of the owner, in the programme for this match.

The zeal with which they have pursued that aim so far has made Leicester many people's favourites for promotion from the Championship this season.

Eriksson, who was appointed last October after Paulo Sousa was sacked with the club bottom of the league, guided the team to 10th place last term, their upswing fuelled by purchases such as former England striker Darius Vassell and expensive loan signings such as Yakubu and Kyle Naughton. The departure of those loanees has been more than compensated for by the purchases of 10 new players – the club says the total fees are below the reported figure of £10m, but the salaries offered to men such as Paul Konchesky, signed from Liverpool, are surely vast.

Eriksson wants to buy several more players this month, making a striker his priority; a sign of the club's growing status is that they are reported to be prepared to gazump Premier League West Bromwich Albion for Reading's Shane Long. That would probably mean breaking Leicester's transfer record – which remains the £5m paid for Ade Akinbiyi in 2002, a fact that means Leicester fans need no reminding that money does not guarantee success.

Mourinho, for one, thinks, this time, Leicester have invested wisely. "I think they will be in the Premier League very, very soon," he said. "I cannot say they are worse than a few of the teams I saw when I was in the Premier league."