Defences across Spain are facing up to the prospect of a season against Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and James Rodriguez.
However, Real Madrid’s spending should be cause for concern, and not just for their La Liga rivals.
A generation of Galacticos
While Los Biancos strive to create a new breed of Galacticos, their young players suffer. With their academy becoming increasingly marginalised, it is a worrying policy for the up-and-coming stars of the Bernabeu.
Their summer spending is not necessarily over, with Chelsea’s veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech reportedly on the radar.
Financial Fair Play
What is more, it may also have implications for the seemingly helpless Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules supposedly being imposed across European football. Madrid, together with Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester City do not appear fazed by the regulations. Most laughable of all, Barcelona – a club banned from signing players – have already clinched a deal bringing Luis Suarez to the Nou Camp, despite him being banned from all football activity for his bite on Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup.
In these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that Madrid are unperturbed by FIFA. The Suarez deal has made a mockery of FIFA’s weak sanctions, though that does not mean Madrid’s shopping spree will be without consequence.
Rather, it is likely to cause internal problems that may not be visible straight away. Barcelona may not shy away from spending, but their academy speaks for itself in terms of talent produced.
Revenue from top players
The giants of Beckham, Zidane, and Figo have now departed, but the likes of Rodriguez are bringing in similar revenue through shirt sales and sponsorship. Boosting his worth with Colombia at Brazil 2014, he reportedly commanded an $108 million transfer fee, a staggering amount considering the strength-in-depth Carlo Ancelotti already has at his disposal.
Of their top, top players, only Iker Casillas began his career with the club. Both Diego Lopez Rodriguez and Alvaro Arbeloa spent time developing elsewhere, before returning to the Spanish capital.
Even regardless of their young players’ development, such a system is likely to create resentment, with the squad often accused of lacking cohesion. While there may be little truth in rumours that Ronaldo has been irked by Bale’s heftier price-tag, it is unsurprising that such scrutiny is paid to Madrid’s outlay.
Barcelona have undoubtedly experienced something of a decline since Pep Guardiola’s sabbatical, but rather than take advantage of their rivals’ demise, Madrid have in fact cost themselves unnecessary expenditure.
Their experience with Kaka has done little to convince club president Florentino Perez that money spent does not necessarily translate into immediate returns. While his presidency brought them the Champions League last season, and will no doubt bring further success, it may yet bring untold problems for the club further down the line.