ToF already wrote about Luka Jovic. Wrote about how he was destined to shine in the Spanish capital. But the Serb has struggled to make an impact at Real Madrid. This follows a trend and the goal of this article is now to try and decipher the problems unravelling at Real Madrid that arose following the “Galacticos” policy. This includes the time from 2000, when Florentino Perez became the president of Real Madrid and after 2009 when he returned to the post.
During these years, besides the obvious European success, some fans have criticised Perez’s transfer policy. A transfer policy that leads the club to the trophies, but has also ruined many young player’s careers.
Jovic’s Real Madrid career so far…
Luka Jovic started his career in Red Star Belgrade, where he captured European-wide clubs’ interest. This consequently allowed him to travel to Benfica. The Serbian-international was then loaned to Eintracht Frankfurt and, after proving himself in the Bundesliga, he was transferred to Los Blancos for a fee equal to £62m. At the age of 21, Luka Jovic had scored 26 goals across all competitions (including 10 in Europa League). An outstanding return. But still, he has been benched since his arrival in the Spanish capital, only managing to score once. This comes after Zidane said that he can’t find a place for the Serbian-international in his plans.
This has led to speculation that Jovic might be loaned out soon. Moreover, according to some sources, a couple of months ago Real wanted to get rid of Jovic. Finally, Jovic started both games in Saudi Arabia at the renewed format of Supercopa de España and the last game in La Liga against Sevilla. But if we take into account that Zidane is a big fan of Karim Benzema it’s hard to say, if Jovic will get more playing time in upcoming fixtures.
Continuity of the “Galácticos” Policy
The new millennia began in Madrid in an astonishing fashion. Florentino Perez elected as the club’s president. The intentions were clear with the transfer of Luis Figo from their arch-rivals Barcelona, for a record-breaking fee of €62m. Starting new an era with the transfer of Barcelona’s then beloved captain could have been unimaginable for most of the fans. From this point forward, Real Madrid became the Galacticos, signing world-class players almost every single season.
The record was successfully replaced the following year, with a transfer of Zinedine Zidane for about €80m. From then to now, Real Madrid have spent approximately €2.1 Billion on transfers. This aggressive transfer policy led them to become one of the biggest spenders across the continent. Despite these figures, in the last decade, they placed only 8th on top spenders list.
Whilst simultaneously acquiring top players, Perez made a vow to invest in the youth academy. From his time in La Fabrica (Real Madrid academy), he has raised many good players, but their gametime has always been limited. Today, only Nacho and Fede Valverde are products of the youth system. The figure is even worse if we consider the minutes given to youngsters.
According to CIES Football Observatory, in 2014/15 season Real Madrid gave U21 players only 0.1% of playing time in La Liga, one of the worst across the top-5 leagues in Europe. It was 2015/16 season when new young faces appeared in the squad.
The latest period of Florentino Perez’s presidency has now been characterised by the transition from acquiring top players to bringing young talents into the club. It seems it’s his intention to lay the foundations for long-term success. However, European dominance is too vital for Perez, meaning that these young talents have a high amount of pressure placed on them from an early age. In recent years, we’ve seen this take a negative toll, leaving them to underperform when they were once destined to become world-class stars.
Why young talents struggle in Madrid
During Florentino Perez’s Galacticos policy, Real Madrid have acquired many young players. Alongside Luka Jovic: Brahim Diaz, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior are currently playing for Los Blancos, but are also struggling to make an impact. They aren’t even first-choice players. Zidane prefers to rely on experienced operators in his Champions League-winning sides.
To be fair, one factor is the squad’s strength, which is quite unbelievable. For example, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have occupied two places in that midfield line for six years, leaving no room for Isco and James Rodriguez’s way to the starting line-up. This led to the situation of “overstocking” in some positions. Additionally, Real Madrid continues adding new young players to their squad, already announcing the signing of Reinier (our article on him here).
Despite the obvious risks, young players can still have a bright future ahead of them in Madrid. They are a future generation, the cornerstone of any future successes. With other clubs now able to match Perez’s spendings, it will be interesting to see how he can adapt.
In these next few seasons, we are certain to see departures from Real. Long term players will retire or move onto the final stages of their career. This will, of course, create spaces in the squad. These will hopefully be filled by younger stars. It’s quite hard to say if all these youngsters will bide their time and stay in Madrid, but if they do, times may just change…
For more like this, follow us @TasteOfFtbl on Twitter!