In the midst of yet another fascinating transfer window, I wanted to take time and reflect on some of the best bargain deals for world class players that have been brought to the Santiago Bernabeu.
With all the talk lately of astronomical transfer fees, and who is "valued" at this sum or that, I wanted to demonstrate some talent that has been plucked out of relative obscurity and thrust to the forefront of the world's game, based on their play; not "potential" or irresponsible valuation and spending.
The following are some of the best bargain buys Los Blancos have made in their illustrious history. Obviously inflation and other factors come into mind when seeing some of these values, but they are nonetheless fascinating.
Manuel Sanchis is one of the greatest players to ever play for the Royal Whites. During his magnificent career he amassed 711 appearances for Madrid, and scored 33 goals in 17 seasons.
He was one of the best sweepers in the world during this stretch coming up through the ranks of Castilla to first team action in 1983, he signed for $200,000, and developed one of the greatest partnerships in world football with the next member of our list.
The Real Madrid legend won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid. He was a intergral part of the Madrid back four and midfield for 14 years.
He was signed in 1989 from Valladoloid for a modest $1,000,000.
The Turkish born, German International, is quickly becoming one of the most highly rated midfield talents in world football.
At 22, he could play a pivotal part for Madrid over the course of the next decade. But the most impressive part about Ozil for Madrid, is that he was purchased from Werder Bremen in 2010 for a "bargain" 15 million euros.
World class midfielders are easily in the 30-40 million Euro price range. Luka Modric, the creative Croatian of Spurs, is currently attracting offers from rival clubs in England in excess of 25 mill.
No way Modric is worth 10 mill more than Ozil, plus Modric is three years older than the German.
The Argentine won La Liga twice, in addition to two Champions leagues.
He proved to be a force in the midfield with Steve McManaman in helping Madrid become the kings of Europe in 2000.
He was only at the Bernabeau for six seasons, but he only cost 3.5 million to transfer in.
Redondo had a very successfull spell that included over 160 appearances, and had his best years of his career while he was playing for Los Blancos.
He departed for AC Milan in 2000 for 17.5 million.
Claude Makelele is one of the greatest holding, defensive, midfielders to ever play the game.
Madrid have been starved for illustrious silver since his departure for 16 million Euros in 2003 to London giants Chelsea. He was imperative to Madrid's chemistry, and midfield cohesion for 3 straight seasons.
Claude was signed for 14 million euros from Celta Vigo in 2000. Hopefully Xabi Alonso can continue to play at a high level since joining the club in a similar role from Liverpool in 2009.
Makelele left Madrid with over 90 appearances and seven trophies in three seasons.
Zinedine Zidane was famously quoted after Makelele departed, and David Beckham was to be transferred in from Old Trafford: "Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley, when you're losing the entire engine?"
If that doesn't speak volumes to what Claude meant to Los Galacticos, I don't know what does.
Santillana was an under-sized striker that over-achieved in his remarkable career. In 17 years he had over 778 appearances, good for third all time, with 186 goals.
In 1971 he signed from Racing Santander for $110,000 at 19 years old.
After switching sides in Madrid from Atletico in 1985 for 4 mill, the Mexican legend went on to greatness at the Bernabeu with some powerful stats.
He's still fifth all time in goals scored, with 209. He won the European Golden boot in 1990, scoring 38 times that season for the Royal Whites. He went on to win the Pichichi 4 consecutive times, the only player in La Liga history to do that. Scoring 253 in 283 appearances.
Undoubtebly Sanchez is the greatest Mexican player ever.
Raul is one of the greatest strikers in the history of the game.He is still the all-time leader in Champions League goals, Real Madrid goals and appearances.
He worked his way up from Real Madrid C, and B, to eventually receiving his first team start in 1994, after he had been plucked from the Atletico youth system years earlier and signed to senior squad in 1994. Raul's contracts have always remained undisclosed with Madrid, but whatever the amount was; it wasn't enough for what he was worth and meant to the club for 16 years.
He is currently plying his trade in Germany for Schalke 04, and rolled back the clock last season with impressive goals in the latter stages of the Champions League. His return is inevitable for a proper farewell when he decides to leave the game for good.
If there was a Mount Rushmore of Madrid legends, Di Stefano's face would be carved in the summit. $70,000 is what it took (outright) to buy Di Stefano in 1953.
There was no additional transfer fee after a controversial tussle between Madrid and Barcelona fought over the rights to his signature. Obviously with inflation, and other financial circumstances, this number seems low and doesn't translate presently; but it's still a remarkable figure for one of the greatest strikers to ever play the game.
Di Stefano is still second all-time at Madrid in goals, only 16 goals behind Raul, with almost 350 less appearances...I know, amazing that he comes in second.
Puskas may be the most efficient striker to ever play the game.
Santiago Bernabeu gave him $5,000 on the day he signed his deal and not a cent for a transfer fee, according to an interview with Puskas published in the Guardian in 2006.
He was told by other big clubs, including Manchester United, that he was overweight, too old and simply not good enough.
So Madrid took a chance and signed a 31-year-old who was 18 kilos overweight. He went on to score 157 goals in 182 appearances (that's not a typo) over the course of his eight-year career in the Spanish capital that including winning the Pichichi four times.
Puskas is without a doubt the best transfer in Madrid history, and possibly the greatest acquisition in transfer history.