James Rodriguez's move to Real Madrid seems all but certain at this point, and the arrival of the Colombian superstar puts Los Blancos in a situation very similar to the golden days of Los Galacticos.
According to BeIN Sports, Rodriguez was spotted in Madrid's Barajas Airport on Sunday, fueling speculation regarding a transfer to the point where it seems no longer possible to deny the 2014 World Cup star will be playing in the Spanish capital next season.
Rodriguez told Marca (h/t to the Daily Mirror's Jim Daly) it would be "a dream" to play for Real, and a transfer has seemed inevitable ever since:
It's really flattering to know that a club like Madrid, of such magnitude, are interested in me. It would be a dream to sign for the team of my dreams.
I have a great deal of respect for other clubs and admire the good football they play, but ultimately Real Madrid are Real Madrid. I've always had a thing for them.
It's a dream, as I said, but also a privilege to play alongside players of such quality, all those world-class stars. It's my life's dream. If this finally happens, I only want to enjoy it.
Los Blancos have always presented a top destination for the world's biggest stars, already boasting the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. But the summer of 2014 has been different.
German superstar Toni Kroos already joined the club following his phenomenal World Cup campaign, as shared by Real's official Twitter account:
That makes two world-class signings, both adding to what is already a stocked midfield unit. Off the back of a UEFA Champions League win, ESPN FC's Max Bretos wonders if we can start calling them the Galacticos again:
Reigning European Champs. Real Madrid, just signed Toni Kroos. Arrival of James Rodriguez immiment. Can we call them Galacticos again?— Max Bretos (@mbretosESPN) July 17, 2014
The original Galacticos barely need an introduction. Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham were the biggest stars in the sport when they joined a great team already consisting of the likes of Raul, Iker Casillas and Roberto Carlos.
Real Madrid became every young player's dream destination, a place where the best players in the world would join forces in order to win trophies. In 2001, you weren't considered a true world-class player unless Los Blancos were interested in your services.
The 2014-15 squad is shaping up to be similar. An attacking core of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Bale, Kroos and Rodriguez is something you'd normally expect to see in a video game. Yet all five should be gracing the pitch together, wearing the same iconic white kit as Real go looking for the La Liga title.
It's a scary thought for defenders all around Spain (and let's be honest, in the Champions League as well). But fans of the club have to hope Florentino Perez has learned his lessons from the original project, which ultimately failed.
The Galacticos put Real on the map as the biggest club in the world, and from an economic standpoint, the project itself was a success. But after a dominant La Liga and Champions League run to start the Galacticos era, the club failed to win a single trophy in three consecutive seasons.
There are many reasons why the Galacticos ultimately didn't live up to the expectations, ranging from an over-reliance on offensive talent to chemistry issues and a lack of development of the younger players who were forced to watch the stars play week in and week out.
These are the mistakes Perez needs to avoid making again. Angel Di Maria was a key contributor for the club in the past season, but he could soon join Sami Khedira on his way to a new club, via Football365's Daniel Storey:
Angel Di Maria and Sami Khedira for the same price as James Rodriguez?I'd snap your hand off for the first option any day.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) July 20, 2014
There was no such thing as Financial Fair Play back when the original Galacticos made their way to Madrid, something the club will have to keep an eye on this time around.
And what about Isco? The youngster was brought into the fold with much fanfare following his great spell with Malaga, and he is widely regarded as the future of Spanish football.
How will his development be affected by this multitude of big-money signings? Football is a business, after all, and by spending millions on two new midfielders, the chances he'll be seeing plenty of minutes in the near future are slim (if he stays with Los Blancos at all).
Sergi Dominguez wonders the same thing:
Don't reckon Madrid will find a midfielder like Isco anytime soon. The future of Spain. Will he develop drastically with James' arrival?— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) July 20, 2014
Restarting the Galacticos project doesn't have to be a bad thing for Real, but it is vital the club looks at the mistakes that were made in the past and avoids going down the same road.
With such a talented group of players, fans all over the world will be expecting silverware, and lots of it. If Real can't consistently deliver, a similar fate could be in store for this new generation of superstars.