Florentino Perez has an all too familiar look in his eye. It’s a curious cross between steely determination and trapped wind. It’s an expression that’s been witnessed three times over the past 12 years. The first occasion arose during the Real Madrid president’s first tenure at Madrid with the world-shattering purchase of the first Galacticos—Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham.
When Perez returned to power in 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Kaka were brought in one stunning summer at a cost of nearly €200 million. After a lull of four years, Perez’s cheque book is about to be whipped out for a third time, for a trio of very good reasons.
Perez is facing re-election as president of the club in the summer. The fact that the current Santiago Bernabeu head is set to be the only candidate in the poll should help with the victory, but a present for the voters would not go amiss. Jose Mourinho, the coach Perez has called the “best manager in the world” is set to leave after three tempestuous years. A diversionary tactic is rapidly required.
Lastly, Perez has failed to bring the Champions League back to Madrid in his second tenure in charge. In the logical brain of the trained engineer, more money needs to be spent to bring more success. So far, these are the three leading candidates for this summer’s big-budget release of "The Galacticos: Phase Three."
Indications suggested that the Brazilian human billboard was Barcelona-bound. Not so, claims Marca in recent days (Spanish), with the Madridista paper reporting that the forward will be lured to the Santiago Bernabeu with a salary of €10 million net a year, and a hefty fee being paid to the 892 parties who appear to have rights to the footballer, in what is a most complex of affairs.
The signing would work on multiple levels for Real Madrid. The global branding potential is enormous with Ronaldo and Neymar being the dual figureheads for the club. In what is often secondary importance to Perez, the player could be more than handy on the pitch, too, as a footballer to help take some of the goalscoring pressure of the unstoppable Ronaldo.
The purchase of the Santos player would be a huge raspberry to Barça, who have long coveted the footballer and have similar marketing and sporting designs on the 21-year-old haircut.
Galactico Power: 9/10
The Tottenham footballer has been a much-trumpeted target for Real Madrid all season (Spanish) with the Spurs player's exploits having not gone unnoticed in Spain.
The Footballer of the Year in the Premier League may not quite have the name recognition or marketability preferred by Perez, but as a sporting acquisition, the player is a win-win situation all the way, due to his versatility and newly developed goalscoring prowess.
Perez has always been fond of an "English" player—the concept of the United Kingdom and Wales is lost in Spain—due to the media attraction it brings, and Bale would be the first Anglo-Saxon arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu since Michael Owen in 2004.
Galactico Power: 7/10
A brand new name on the Galactico block and a footballer who has always held great fascination in Spain (Spanish) is Wayne Rooney as an old-fashioned, run-all-day, smash-yer-knees, hooligan in a football kit who happens to possess great skills, too.
During this season’s Champions League clashes between Real Madrid and Manchester United, the reaction to Rooney was a mixture of fear, curiosity and gleeful delight over the physicality of the player. There would be many a sports writer and fan who would love to see Rooney brought to La Liga and put on display, to be gazed at in the same manner as a Victorian seeing a giraffe for the first time.
Rooney would fit the bill of being English and still has greater name recognition over Bale in Spain. However, some incidents in Rooney’s personal history and questions over the footballer’s ability to adapt to a new culture and language could well be a factor in passing over the Englishman, despite his current attempts to leave Old Trafford.
Galactico Power: 6/10