At times, Real Madrid’s recruitment policy has borne a striking resemblance to fantasy football. No player is seemingly out of reach for the Liga giants, especially when Florentino Perez is occupying a presidential hot seat.
He became famed for his ‘Galacticos’ approach to transfer business during an initial spell at Santiago Bernabeu between 2000 and 2006, with some of the biggest names on the planet making their way to the Spanish capital.
Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Ronaldo and Luis Figo were just some of those snapped up as serious markers were put down to domestic and continental rivals. When Perez returned to office in 2009, he quickly picked up where he left off.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria, Luka Modric, Mesut Ozil and Gareth Bale were all acquired in often record-setting agreements. They offered no guarantees of success, but they captured the imagination of a demanding fan base that had grown accustomed to watching an all-star side in action.
Perez has seen a return on his investment in La Liga and Champions League competitions, while Space Casino has a side managed by Carlo Ancelotti at -625 to secure supremacy in Spain’s top-flight this season with another title triumph.
While focus remains locked on the present and the pursuit of more major honors, attention in Madrid will forever drift towards the next window of opportunity in which to get fresh faces through the door. The most ambitious of clubs is never entirely happy with its lot.
More to come?
Given his penchant for putting spectacular deals in place, it is safe to assume that Perez has another list of targets drawn up and is prepared to start working his way down that with checkbook in hand.
As the old saying goes, there is no smoke without fire and Real are seemingly ready to set the transfer market alight once more. Their standing in the global game ensures that they are never far away from any given gossip column, but the rumor mill is being sent spinning again in 2022.
Perez, it would seem, is ready to get the Galactico wheels turning once more, with more superstar performers in his sights.
Kylian Mbappe is now one of the most recognizable figures on the planet, with his global standing transcending a profession of choice, and the World Cup-winning Frenchman may be next into the Bernabeu arrivals lounge.
The France international is in the process of running down a contract at Paris Saint-Germain and will become a free agent in the summer. He has been a long-standing target for Real, and one that is now well within reach.
There has also been plenty of talk regarding a possible switch to Spain for Erling Haaland, with the Norwegian’s prolific exploits at Borussia Dortmund – along with an ever-expanding profile off the field – making him of obvious appeal to Perez. Paul Pogba, another of those heading towards free agency at Manchester United, also boasts the level of celebrity to tick important boxes in the Blancos’ boardroom.
Real are reverting to type it would seem, with a real-life version of FIFA Ultimate Team being played out by an outfit that believes reaching the stars requires a galaxy of them to be assembled all under one roof.