The mighty Los Blancos were once known as the team that did their transfer business based on the Galactico policy. Galacticos, as called so by the Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, were expensive and highly established players at the peak of their careers and one of the best in their positions. Perez used to sign at least one Galactico a year during his first tenure as the president of the Blancos. Initially, the Galactico policy was looked at as a policy used to emphasize the greatness of signing these superstars in the football world and thus move towards making a world-class team. During his first tenure, from 2000-2006, Perez signed a “Galactico” every season. The Real Madrid President signed the French playmaker and current manager Zinedine Zidane in 2001, El Fenomeno Ronaldo in 2002, David Beckham in 2003, Micheal Owen in 2004, and the Brazilian forward Robinho in 2005. Initially, Perez’s Galactico approach was extremely successful, with Real winning 2 Spanish League titles and 1 European Cup (their record 9th in total). But later on in his tenure, he was highly criticized for building Real Madrid’s financial strategy around the tremendous marketing potential of their superstar players. Many believed Perez was more interested in the Real Madrid Brand than the quality of football being played. He resigned in February of 2006.
During his second term, Perez again let it go with his high profile players policy. He signed Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa, Raul Albiol and also managed to appoint Jose Mourinho as the coach all in the span of a year.
Later on down the years, he managed to sign all the top players available at the time. He signed Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Luka Modric, James Rodriguez, Raphael Varane, Gareth Bale, Isco, Toni Kroos, Keylor Navas, and Thibaut Courtois. And all these signings bore fruit for him. Since 2009 Real Madrid have managed to win 2 La Liga Titles and 4 Champions League Titles, 3 of them back to back to back. But these players, inevitably, do age and Perez saw this coming. Perez has shrewdly invested in many youth stars over the last 5 to 6 years. He has gradually managed to collect some of the best young players and has ensured that they get first team exposure by sending them off on loans while the big-name players were carrying the club’s legacy. And now, the time has come for the world to witness Florentino Perez’s extremely smart development plan – how he completely switched from signing the world’s best to signing the upcoming best.
After their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to The Old Lady in 2018, Real Madrid witnessed one of their worst seasons ever. They went into transition to a post-Ronaldo era. Perez was ready for this, he knew Ronaldo’s time at Real would end one day or another, but no one saw it coming so soon. However, Perez already had a contingency plan in place. Without CR7 upfront, Real struggled in 2018-19. Nothing was going right according to all the pundits and the media. But the true Real Madrid fans, the board and the President could identify positive signs that the 2018-19 season showed. It was the development of young talents, coming in from La Fabrica or the talents being signed at a young age from all around the world, and the first glimmer of hope given to Real Madrid fans that a new team is on the way was in the form of the Brazilian wonder kid, Vinicius Jr. He was one of the most exciting parts of the season for Real, his lightning-fast pace, excellent dribbling, and some amazing ball control made Real Madrid fans heart stop every time they saw him come on to the pitch. After spending the first half of the season at the Castilla, Vinicius was brought into the first team by the then coach Santiago Solari, and Real Madrid fans have been forever thankful to him. Solari has also been credited for giving Real Madrid excellent young choices in the form of Federico Valverde and Sergio Reguillon. Watching Vinicius and Reguillon in the first team gave Real hopes that the next season won’t be so bad, and in the one after that, they would be ready to reclaim their title of being the best team in the world.
The Next Generation
Finally, in the 2019-20 season, Real began to capitalize on their young signings, both on the field and financially. Real Madrid’s young talents (including Reiner Jesus) who the club signed when they were below the age of 20 have resulted in a gigantic increase in transfer value. In total, Real Madrid paid €175.7 million to bring all these young talents to the club, and now, according to Transfermarkt, these players combined are valued at €355.5 million. This means that Real Madrid have already doubled their investment. The icing on the cake is that most of these players are still under 23. Perez was criticised in his first term for being obsessive about highly valued players, but this time the case is different. Most of these players have already established themselves in world football, and the others have exciting prospects. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Starting with the established ones, players like Marco Asensio, Odegaard, and Federico Valverde have already become big names in world football. Asensio was all set to seal his position in the first team this season, unfortunately, a season-ending injury ruined it for him. Odegaard has been making waves away at loan to Real Sociedad. He’s already being regarded as one of the best creative midfielders in La Liga, and he still has one more year on his loan deal. Real Madrid already have their Luka Modric replacement fired and ready to go. But that may be later than expected as Lukita has been one of their best players in the last couple of seasons. And coming to Valverde, he has proven to be one of the best in the world, from excellent performances in both the Clasicos to some extreme work rate and blistering pace, he has it all. And he certainly is going to be the first name on the team sheet for seasons to come. These 3 players have already been dream cast by Real Madrid fans as replacements to some of Real Madrid’s best players.
Now coming on to the Brazilian wonder kids, Real have managed to secure the signings of Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo Goes and Reiner Jesus. Vinicius Jr was one of the few positives to come from Real’s disappointing 18-19 season. With his excellent pace and dribbling, he is able to trouble the opposition defenders and dance around them. If he is able to add a finer finishing touch to his excellent style of play, he is destined to be the world’s best. Coming to Rodrygo, the fans have been able to witness him for the first half of the season and have absolutely adored him. He is an excellent dribbler of the ball and he adds to his skills by being a calm and composed player in front of goal and he has proved it multiple times this season, having scored a hat-trick against Galatasaray in UCL group stages. He has a lot of things that Vinicius seems to lack, the biggest of them being an eye for goal, Rodrygo is seen to score more easily and effortlessly as compared to Vinicius and this little competitive rivalry between the two will only increase their potential and propel them towards being better players. And coming on to the latest Real Madrid signing, Reiner Jesus is an 18-year-old midfielder who is expected to develop and get in the Real Madrid first team within the next two years. His journey may involve a year of a loan spell at a La Liga side or playing for Castilla for another year.
Now, coming on to some brilliant young midfielders that Real Madrid have in their arsenal. Both Ceballos and Takefusa Kubo are considered excellent midfielders with the latter called the Japanese Messi. But Ceballos’ run at Real Madrid hasn’t been all that good ever since he signed from Betis. He hasn’t got much game time under Zidane and even though he did impress in the early days during his loan spell at Arsenal, his game time has again been reduced under the newly appointed Arteta. Kubo, on the other hand, is enjoying himself at Mallorca and is ready to return to the Bernabeu next season and show off his magic to the world. Another player who has seen lack of game time just like Ceballos has been the young star Brahim Diaz, who was signed from Manchester City, nonetheless, whenever Brahim has been asked to step up, he has been exceptional, and the fans wouldn’t be surprised to find him on the wing at Real in the next 2 seasons.
Real also managed to bring some young defenders into their squad, through transfers or from the youth academy over the last few years, and most of them have impressed, the best example of this being Sergio Reguillon. This young left-back really gave Marcelo a run for his position in the 18-19 season and has been excellent at Sevilla so far, his fight for the spot against Mendy, Marcelo and Hakimi would be brilliant to watch. Talking about Hakimi, this young Moroccan has taken the world by storm during his loan spell at Dortmund and Zidane now has a real headache on whether to bring him back or not, because letting go of such a gem would be an absolutely foolish decision by the gaffer. Real have also signed a couple of central defenders to prepare for the post-Ramos era, with Militao and Vallejo coming to the club. Both of them have failed to impress so far, with Vallejo unable to find a club to get playing time, and Militao making some big mistakes during his first season. But they are quality defenders and may improve as time passes.
Real managed to secure the signing of the Serbian Jovic at the start of the 19-20 season. He was expected to be the next Real number 9, but he has failed to impress the men in white so far, scoring only 2 goals this season. But everyone remembers his form at his Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt where he also scored 5 goals in a single game. All he needs from his manager is a little faith, and he can go on and become the next Real number 9.
Seeing all these young and upcoming talents really excite a Real fan of the prospect the future holds. Witnessing the transfer policy change from Galacticos to young talents has been a welcome change by the Real Madrid faithful. Just imaging how a team with all these players and the new ones expected to come soon causes goosebumps. These youngsters have the potential to take over the footballing world and Perez’s transfer policy would totally be the one the fans would be thankful for.