Real Madrid have faced some strong backlash from fans and pundits for their spending during the 2014 summer-transfer window, but Los Blancos' success in the past few years indicates they deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Barcelona icon Johan Cruyff recently expressed his admiration for Real's capture of both James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, players he believes once belonged to the Blaugrana.
The Dutch legend told Ultimo Hora (h/t Goal for BeIN Sports) as much when he said: "Kroos was one of the best players at Bayern and at the World Cup. He sprays the ball around really well. James is also a terrific playmaker. Barca always used to sign lots of playmaker, but now Real have done so."
For those unfamiliar with the dynamics between Cruyff and Real: The Dutchman is anything but a fan of Los Blancos, and to hear him praise the club like this truly is a rarity.
Now, there's no denying Real Madrid have spent lavishly on players in the past, and the main criticism seems to come from people who believe Los Blancos acquired two players they realistically had no need for during the summer. According to The Telegraph, three of the four most expensive players of all time play for Real.
But the Champions League winners aren't the only team in world football spending big. Clubs like Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City have all thrown heaps of cash at players in the past few years, and the results haven't always been the greatest.
Real make splash signings during every single summer window, but in recent years, you'll be hard-pressed to find a single star who joined the club and didn't contribute in one way or another.
Gareth Bale overcame a rocky start to life in the Spanish capital and was instrumental in Los Blancos' Decima win. Luka Modric has grown into a key component of the club's midfield. Fabio Coentrao was the choice left-back before the emergence of Marcelo, and Angel di Maria's value now is much higher than it was in 2010.
Those four were the most expensive club signings of the past four windows. All are still with the club and will either contribute in 2014-15 or leave for a hefty profit, following in the footsteps of Mesut Ozil and Gonzalo Higuain.
How many true transfer flops have Los Blancos signed in the past few years? Nuri Sahin, whose combined loan fee to Liverpool and transfer fee to Borussia Dortmund actually gave the club a profit, per Transfermarkt.co.uk?
You'd have to go all the way back to the 2009 season to find a player Los Blancos would realistically regret signing: Ricardo Kaka, whom they gave back to AC Milan on a free transfer because his wages made him nearly impossible to move. In football terms, 2009 is basically ancient history.
Do Real deserve more praise for their transfer strategy?
Yes, Real have a penchant on spending vast sums on players they don't have a true need for, but under Carlo Ancelotti, they've yet to sign a star player who didn't make good on his price tag in some way or another.
Even if you believe the sport's current financial imbalance is ruining parity, you can't help but applaud that when Real commit to a target, they've done their homework and made sure they've gone for the right player.
Rodriguez and Kroos were two of the hottest names available in 2014, and it's no surprise they ended up in Madrid. But if the club's recent history is any indication, the two will find success with Los Blancos almost instantly.
It's time people acknowledged that. For all of their lavish spending, Real's purchases always seem to pay off.