The Future is Bright at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Since I became a fan of the team 20 or so years ago, Real Madrid has always been singularly focused on acquiring Galacticos, or the world’s best players. Unfortunately, this was done in the past to the detriment of Valdebebas, the club’s youth academy. This obviously presents problems, as any Galactico will eventually grow old and will cease to be the dominant player they once were.
Thankfully, the past few years have hosted a change in this philosophy, culminating with the signing of Brazilian youth superstars Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes, and now, the midfield wunderkind from Flamengo, Reinier Jesus. In addition to other youthful additions, such as Norwegian youngster Martin Odegaard, Uruguayan rising superstar Federico Valverde and Moroccan right-back Achraf Hakimi, the defending 2-time African Young Player of the Year, it’s clear that the club’s philosophy on adding players has changed considerably.
Club president Florentino Perez has spent a large part of the past 10 years investing in youth prospects, understanding that with the rapidly rising prices in today’s game, buying young talents and developing them into the superstars they can be will serve the club well, as well as continue Real Madrid’s dominance over European football.
This started with the signing of Marco Asensio, a young Spanish winger who played for Mallorca. Perez realized that, in order to have the club enjoy continued and uninterrupted success, he would have to invest heavily in young players and have them hone their craft under the watchful eye of the coaches at Valdebebas. Obviously, Asensio’s time at Real has been overwhelmingly successful (even though he’s missing this season thanks to a torn ACL), and Perez realized that he needed to make the same investments at every position, which he has.
However, the most recent signing of Reinier Jesus is striking, not because of the price quoted by Flamengo, but because of what Jesus represents. Along with current Real players Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes, Reinier Jesus represents the future of the Brazilian National Team, regarded the world over as perhaps the most storied and accomplished national football team there is.
With that in mind, it’s safe to say that Florentino Perez’s new focus on acquiring young, rising talent is going smoothly and will pay dividends at the club for at least the next decade, if not more.