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Real Madrid’s transfer policy: From galacticos to generational talents

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(Photo by Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images)

Real Madrid, one of the most storied football clubs in the world, has long been synonymous with the ‘galactico’ era.

This period, characterized by the acquisition of world-class players for both marketing and sporting success, saw stars like Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, and Cristiano Ronaldo don the famous white jersey.

However, recent seasons have witnessed a shift in the club’s strategy. Real Madrid is gradually moving away from splashing huge sums on established superstars to focusing on signing young, promising talents at relatively lower prices and investing in their development. This change in approach is epitomized by the arrivals of Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior, each costing the club €45 million from Brazil.

In the current market, European clubs would find it difficult to compete with state-owned clubs from countries like Saudi Arabia, making investing in young talents a crucial component

The New Approach: Investing in Youth

Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior have not only justified their price tags but have also become key figures in the team. Both players are now two-time Champions League winners, solidifying their status in European football. Their success represents the effectiveness of Real Madrid’s revamped strategy. So, how does Real Madrid go about identifying and securing these young talents?

Scouting: The Foundation

The first step in this new approach is meticulous scouting, conducted by a dedicated team led by Juni Calafat. Calafat, known among fans as “the man who makes things happen,” plays a pivotal role in discovering promising talents across the globe. His efforts have been crucial in identifying players who have the potential to thrive at Real Madrid.

During negotiations to sign players, Juni Calafat and his team are involved in talks, traveling to speak with the player’s families and provide all the necessary information.

 Seduction: The Allure of Real Madrid

Once a talent is identified, the next phase involves convincing the player to join the club. Real Madrid leverages its rich history, boasting numerous Champions League trophies, the allure of playing in the newly renovated Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, and the opportunity to play alongside some of the best footballers of the current generation.

The club’s economic power and unparalleled prestige play significant roles in persuading young talents that “Everyone wants to play for Madrid.”

Timing: Market Opportunities

Timing is a crucial element in Real Madrid’s strategy. The club has shown a keen eye for market opportunities, particularly targeting players in the final year of their contracts.

This approach allows Real Madrid to present the selling club with an offer lower than the player’s market value. The decision then falls on the selling club: accept the offer now or risk losing the player on a free transfer the following year. This strategic timing ensures that Real Madrid secures talent at a cost-effective price while maintaining squad harmony.

Setting Conditions: Commitment to Real Madrid

Real Madrid sets clear conditions for potential signings. Reports suggest that club officials often require players to reject all other offers if they wish to join Real Madrid. This stipulation underscores the club’s commitment to ensuring that new recruits are fully dedicated to the cause and align with the club’s long-term vision.

The 15-time European champions have transitioned from the ‘galactico’ era to a focus on young talents, which marks a significant evolution in the club’s philosophy. The successes of players like Eduardo Camavinga, Jude Bellingham, Aurelien Tchouaméni, Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Junior highlight the effectiveness of this approach, which combines meticulous scouting, strategic seduction, timely market opportunities, and firm contractual conditions.

As Real Madrid continues to adapt and innovate, the club remains poised to maintain its dominance in European football while building a squad capable of sustained success for years to come.

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