Football is one unique sport that is synonymous with the parading of superstars that graced the field of play for every professional football club because they are the main protagonist who is always the thick of things on the pitch, as such for a fact known to the whole world, the primary assignment & objective of every football club is to win trophies and also make a lot of cash through winning either on the home front or on the continent.
With the introduction up there, no doubt some big clubs have at one point or the other enjoyed the glamour and the attractiveness some football stars brought into their club by attracting big brands and investors because of the player’s huge fan base and reputation. And talking about a club that had and would still continue to enjoy such is no other than arguably the finest and biggest team in the world Real Madrid.
The ‘Los Blancos‘ as they are christened by their fans, did achieve everything a football club could think of winning right from their inception upon till the new millennium, with a record 33 League titles, 19 Copa Del Rey titles, 13 European Cup/Champions League, 2 UEFA Cup, 4 FIFA Club World Cup, 3 Intercontinental Cup, 4 UEFA Super Cup, 11 Supercopa de Espana among other titles, with all of these great achievements, Real Madrid are second to none when it comes to winning a competition, they usually see it as their birthright and as such they’ve been dubbed the greatest football club of all time not because of anything but because of their achievement and reputation in the world of soccer.
Today, Cheapgoals will in this piece take a look at arguably the biggest and finest football club in the world, most especially on how the term ‘Los Galacticos’ became associated with the Spanish giant, the Genesis and the achievement so far since the term became synonymous with them.
Right from the inception of Real Madrid, great players have always donned the traditional white and white jersey of Los Blancos, and among the great players that have donned the jersey of Real Madrid include club legends like Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, and many more.
But then before we go deeper into the business of the day, first off let us have a sense of what the term ‘Galacticos’ means. The term Galacticos is a Spanish word that literally means Galatics, which in English simply means Galaxy of stars.
In the real sense of it, Madrid fans believe that Galacticos is a term used for expensive, talented, and famous players of Real Madrid, even the neutrals sees them as the Galacticos anytime a talented and famous player is been signed by the club.
The Genesis Of Los Galacticos
Galacticos policy first began in the 1950s, when the then President of Real Madrid Santiago Bernabeu first adopted the idea of bringing foreign players to compliment their own Spanish players, basically homegrown player, Bernabeu impelled the Galacticos policy during his reign and succeeded in bringing in club legends like Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano, Santillana, Kopa, and many more to the team.
Bernabeu ideas to bring in foreign players gave birth to a lot of success for the club, with Alfredo Di Stefano ‘The Golden Arrow’ as he was christened by the fans and the rest of the park took Spain and Europe by surprise, achieving success by winning Spanish titles, 5 Europeans Cup, 1 Copa Del Rey, 1 Intercontinental Cup for Los Merengues.
After the reigns of Santiago Bernabeu, another brilliant and wonderful Real Madrid President that also tried in continuing the idea or legacy of the club, and the President is no other than the late Lorenzo Sanz who kicked the bucket in a battle to the coronavirus pandemic a few months ago.
Sanz reign with Los Blancos spun for five years, and during his five-year reign he won six trophies and the team dominated that period with players like Croatia legend Davor Suker who churned like a million star at the 1998 World Cup in France and most importantly at the Euros, Predrag Mijatovic a very good friend to Sanz, Clarence Seedorf, and Roberto Carlos who was signed from Inter Milan, all of the names mentioned were players Sanz signed during that period.
Without mincing words, Sanz wasn’t just a President, he was also a well rounded Madrid fan, and his reign was one of the sweetest moment in the memories of all Madrid fans, most especially when they won their seventh European Cup after waiting patiently for 38 years to lay their hands on the trophy again, but in 1997-98 the dry spell was broken when they defeated Juventus in the final of the Champions League.
As one of Sanz project, Mijatovic gave the Madrid faithful the title they had longed for in 38 years with another in 2000 against Valencia, with all of the success Lorenzo Sanz achieved with Madrid his name will never be forgotten in the history and will live long in the memories of every fan connected to ‘Los Blancos’.
Sanz’s reign came to an end after losing the election to the current president Florentino Perez, recall that the Galacticos idea or policy has been on right from the time of late President and legend Santiago Bernabeu, which the late President Lorenzo Sanz also took upon himself to continue during his five years reign, however, one unique and very popular President who officially kicked start spending huge fee on foreign players who are talented and famous to start the Galacticos era proper is no other than Florentino Perez.
The era started properly under the leadership of Perez after winning the Presidency election against Sanz in 2000, which means the best of the best player in the world would be signed at the end of every season without minding the financial consequences or how much such player would cost, as such Perez’s motive in starting the Galacticos era proper was to push Madrid up the ladder as one of the richest team in the world and also to boost the financial condition of the club, which in one way or the other gives the fans the belief that their darling club could go all out to bring in superstars into the team.
FIRST GALACTICOS ERA
|2003||David Beckham||€37m||Manchester United|
The first Galacticos project began when Florentino Perez won the election against Sanz in 2000, during that period it was more like a ritual for every contesting President of Los Blancos to promise something huge and crazy while campaigning and addressing the fans, so in other words, prior to the 2000 election against the incumbent President Sanz, Perez made a huge and crazy promise to the fans that if he wins the election is going to sign Luis Figo from Barcelona, so as promised when he came out triumphant in the election he signed Luis Figo from Barcelona the arch-rival of Madrid.
Luis Figo exit from Barcelona brought about a lot of uproar from the Calatan fans, having been signed up for a world record fee of £38.7 million, Figo’s exit was the kind of move that put a lot of bitter taste in the mouth of the Barcelona faithful, while he’s betrayal brought in a lot of happiness and joy for the Madrid fans.
In fact not only that, joining Madrid makes the club more marketable, boosted Madrid’s popularity, improved the quality of the team, and also pushed the club further up the ladder for top brands to partner with them.
During that time, the idea of Perez concerning the team was that if any team scored 2 against Madrid, with the superstars in the team they can as well score 4 to 5 goals, even with that assertion by Perez, Madrid has a man in the middle of the park who was the engine room of the team, runs the ship known as ‘Galacticos’ so before any team could infiltrate the Madrid defense such team must be able to go past Makelele in the middle.
After the first project or first Galactico was signed from Barcelona, another talented, brilliant and famous player was also brought in from Seria A specifically Juventus the following season 2001, for another record fee of £44 million which denied the rivalry which we often see between Ronaldo and Messi, had it been Zinedine Zidane wasn’t signed by Perez from Juventus we could have seen a Ronaldo and Messi like rivalry because then without mincing words both players were head and shoulder above other players despite Zidane playing in the Italian league and Figo playing in the Spanish league, though debatable anyway.
Zidane’s move to Madrid gave the fans absolute joy as they always enjoyed watching their darling team play beautifully, which made the fans ask for more, talking of asking for more Perez continued in fulfilling the promise he made to the fans by signing another galactico. Ronaldo De Lima Nazario in 2002 from Inter Milan after a brilliant and impressive performance at the World Cup, Ronaldo was brought for £26 million to continue the Galacticos project.
The following season the glamour boy of football was also signed for £25 million from Manchester United to fill the void left by Makalele who was unceremoniously pushed out of Real Madrid.
The signing of David Beckham from Manchester United brought a lot of dividends for Madrid financially, and the fan base also experienced a huge uprising when he joined, in 2004 Michael Owen was also signed from Liverpool for £8 million and Antonio Nunez, although many don’t see them as a Galactico in terms of abilities. However, Owen was able to register double-digit goals despite playing sparingly from the bench in his first season with Los Blancos.
Meanwhile, some other players were also in that team back then that were also classified as Galacticos, such as Iker Casillas who grew into the first from the Castilla, basically a homeboy, Roberto Carlos who was signed from Inter Milan by Lorenzo Sanz when he was at the helms of affairs, and Raul Blanco Gonzalez another home-grown player from the Castilla.
Iker Casillas, Guti, and Raúl had already established themselves as a part of the club’s core. The trio had come through La Fabrica, and all were in their early twenties. This didn’t fit the Pérez agenda, however. He wanted international stars for continental success in order to create a hegemonic global brand fuelled by merchandising
So in the thick of the Galacticos project, Florentino Perez basically called the policy ‘The Zidane’s & The Pavon’s‘ which simply means that Madrid would buy world bitters footballers and also promote a player from their youth system to form the fulcrum of the team.
La Fabrica had been historically effective, but it wasn’t beautiful. Record-breaking transfer fees, astronomical salaries, and instantly recognizable names were the new necessities to push the Real Madrid brand. When “ The Zidane’s & Pavones” became an idea, it was instantly superseded by “Los Galacticos”. The Pavones didn’t stand a chance.
Fortunately for Florentino Perez, the policy paid off handsomely when they win the league twice, and also produced one Champion League as Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane were the main orchestra of that winning side, although the likes of Ronaldo De Lima and David Beckham didn’t win the Champions League with Los Blancos.
They brought a lot of flamboyance and glamour into the team when they faced opposition team with Ronaldo and Raul upfront. Luis Figo on the flank bursting things and giving defenders big headache, Zidane dictating play from the middle of the park with his creativity and dribbling skills, though some neutrals were of the opinion that the Galacticos project didn’t achieve enough but then watching them play gave the fans lot of joy.
The second Galacticos project looks eminent when the team was going through a torrid time on the pitch of play and in the dressing room, what led to torrid time was when Makalele was unceremoniously pushed out of the team, and that decision led to the exit of the captain of the team Fernando Hierro and team manager Del Bosque, things got difficult the more when Del Bosque left and Madrid kept suffering both on the home front and in the Champions League.
The club suffering and crisis kept getting tougher, Perez realized things weren’t going on fine plus the fact that the Galacticos project was already whining down, so Florentino Perez stepped down as President mainly because of the decline in the team which was evident in their loss to Arsenal in Champions League round of 16.
Following their exit from the Champions League round of 16, Zinedine Zidane retired, thereafter Ronaldo and Beckham also left, Luis Figo also on the other hands left for Inter Milan and that put an end to Perez’s first Galacticos era, though the fans savor all of the wonderful moments when things were going smoothly and when things were also not going fine they did enjoy it to the fullest. But then the project did put Real Madrid on the front burner as one of the best teams in the world.
Just like I said earlier that the another Galacticos era looks imminent when the first Galacticos project of Perez declined, so in Perez’s second return some years after he stepped down, he came back with a bang after some time off, when he came back into the role of President he shocked the world of football and the transfer market with the signings of Kaka from AC Milan for a transfer fee of €67 million.
Which at that time was the second-highest transfer fee ever behind the transfer of Zinedine Zidane, Benzema from Lyon for a transfer fee worth over €35 million to sign a six-year contract with Los Blancos, and Xabi Alonso from Liverpool for a transfer fee around £30 million in the same season.
SECOND GALACTICOS ERA
|2009||Cristiano Ronaldo||€94m||Manchester United|
|2010||Angel Di Maria||€25m||Benfica|
|2010||Mesut Ozil||€15m||Werder Bremen|
|2014||Toni Kroos||€24m||Bayern Munich|
All of the players mentioned formed the fulcrum of the team with Cristiano Ronaldo who was signed by Ramon Calderon from Manchester United in 2009 for a world record fee worth £80 million. However, the narratives of who signed Ronaldo for Madrid will continue to be asked as his signing divides opinion.
The most important thing was that they combined well to achieved great success for Los Blancos as the second Galacticos era looked more similar in nature to the ones Perez signed when he first came in as the President.
Florentino Perez as he was known by the Madrid fans wasn’t just the club President, he was a successful businessman, embarking on another Galacticos project he had a business plan to recuperate all of the money he spent on all of the players through marketing which really worked well for him when he signed the likes of Figo, Zidane, Beckham, and Ronaldo De Lima.
When Ronaldo moved to Madrid he sold over 100 million euros worth of shirts in the first week of arrival for Real Madrid, same also applies to Kaka and Benzema when they joined.
Other players that also form part of the second Galacticos era, includes Angel Di Maria signed in 2010 for €25 million from Benfica, Luka Modric from Tottenham Hotspur for €32 million, Gareth Bale also from Tottenham Hotspur for €100 million, Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich for €24 million and the World Cup Most Valuable Player James Rodriguez who joined Real Madrid from AS Monaco for €76 million.
All of these players were managed by Carlos Ancelotti, he won the Copa Del Rey, and also win the champions league to achieved their La Decima as the trio of Benzema, Bale, and Cristiano dubbed ‘BBC’ finished the season with a combined 97 goals, they also won the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla.
The second Los Galacticos era also achieved a lot of success under the tutelage of a former player and legend of the club Zinedine Zidane who won back to back Champions League for Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid, Juventus, and Liverpool, so for a fact, the second Galacticos era also produced a lot of success in Europe but their achievement in the league was limited.
Now that Ronaldo has left for Juventus, Bale looking more like a player that would leave soon, James Rodriguez not as important like when he joined under Ancelotti, Modric who isn’t as swashbuckling as before, Sergio Ramos captain fantastic who doesn’t look like a player that would stay for three or four seasons again, even though he isn’t showing any signs of sluggishness in his game, and Benzema who also looks like he’s using his last season with Madrid, all of these makes you have that feeling that we are poised for another third Galacticos era which looks imminent.
While not the entirety of Perez Los Galactico’s project has satisfied the fans expectations and dominance despite everything hasn’t materialized in the last decade, the Galacticos project absolutely established the frameworks for Madrid’s ongoing hegemony over European football, which amazingly saw Los Blancos achieved four Champions League titles between 2013 and 2018.
During this era, the nature of the club’s signings discernibly changed, with young talents coming in from the academy, less established famous and talented [alyers are being promoted ahead of big names, such as the rise of Marcos Asencio, Fredrico Valverde, Rodrygo Goes and all.
So if the report were anything to go by and most especially for who Florentino Perez is, then we should expect the third Galacticos project which has already started with the signing of Eden Hazard from Chelsea, although he claimed he isn’t a Galactico yet.
With Madrid been linked with Kylian Mbappe and Erling Brut Haaland and some couple of decent players, then we should expect them to don the white jersey of Real Madrid in the future which is just a matter of time before the deal would be concluded.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.