The signing of Figo twenty years ago revolutionized the world of football. The arrival of Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario and Beckham consolidated the market explosion. Florentino Pérez was the architect of that policy that made rivals change. After resigning in 2006, his return to the presidency in 2009 sparked another injection of money into European football. Cristiano, Kaká, Benzema and Xabi Alonso caused the entry of 220 million liquidity in other clubs and the spread of the signings across the continent. That policy continued with Modric, Bale and James. But five years ago, Real Madrid changed its philosophy.
His new goal was to recruit young talents under 22 so he wouldn’t have to waste money. Well, nice and cheap was the motto. Florentino Pérez made it clear to the international proxies of the players that he would not fall into the trap of paying 80 million for any half-assed jerk with good press. For the last five years he focused on his new politics and brought in guys like Vinicius, Rodrygo, Reinier, Valverde, Jovic and Militao. A performance that has the uncertainty of not knowing if the footballer will triumph in a club under pressure from Real Madrid, but that has the insurance of not wasting money with excessive payments. Hazard was the exception that confirms the rule because it was an acquisition negotiated three years ago. Now, however, the league champion applies an even stricter rule. For the first time in twenty years, Real Madrid will not make any signings.
The crisis generated by the pandemic means that Florentino Pérez will not invest in players. The club affirms that this year’s hires were already paid and are Odegaard, Odriozola and Lunin. The big clubs have stopped earning 200 million this year due to the closure of the «store». Real Madrid states that it will not hire players until there is a vaccine against Covid-19 that allows to return to normal.
Effects of the coronavirus
Right now the coronavirus means that the merchandising does not work, that there are no lockers and that there is no public who goes to the official store on match days, which is when 80 percent of the marketing is collected. The economic machinery is stopped and in these conditions it is crazy to pay millions for footballers who are currently devalued in their price because of the virus.
This stark reality does not mean that Florentino Pérez has added conservatism to his philosophy of focusing on young people. A position that Real Madrid enshrined when they won the 2016 European Cup in Milan against Atlético. In that game, a youth squad member, Lucas Vázquez, scored a decisive penalty. Two executives told: “Why are we going to pay ninety million for a footballer if in the end Lucas plays and takes the job away from the person signed?” That’s how it went.
The construction of the Bernabéu is thought to have slowed the president’s momentum with the signings. It is not true. The stadium is paid for with a 25-year syndicated loan that involves an annual payment for the club of 30 million, an acceptable figure and that does not prevent any operation. The Covid-19 and the economic situation are the culprits for not signing.
There is another fundamental reason for this conservative attitude. Real Madrid had 38 players and the League allows 25 chips. They already sent out nine men and has yet to dispose four more. James, Mayoral, Reguilón, Mariano and the impossible dream of selling Bale are on that list. It has already raised 69 million in sales and hopes to capture another 65 million at least, an objective that demonstrates the priority of obtaining money to cover the lack of 200 million in revenue that Real Madrid, like the rest of the greats, has suffered this year of the damn virus. The great signing will not be a footballer, it will be the vaccine.