In today’s modern football, clubs need desperately to bring successful results under temporary plans without long-term goals. This extremist philosophy has been exceeded the romantic part of football; the youth development and the integration of talented players to the first team. Real Madrid is the best example of this extremist philosophy in the last decade. Galacticos of Florentino Perez was entirely opposed to Barcelona’s philosophy of La Masia. Nevertheless, in the previous 3-4 years there is an apparent reversal of both clubs’ transfer policy; in other words, Real Madrid has imitated Barcelona’s philosophy or the opposite.
Real Madrid: From Galacticos to the youth development
Florentino Perez: President of Real Madrid
Florentino Perez was the creator of the two generations of Galacticos in the early 2000s with the transfers of Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo and Beckham as well as in 2009 with the transfers of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Benzema and Xabi Alonso. However, the transfer of James Rodriguez in the summer of 2014 was the last big and expensive transfer of Los Merengues. Surprisingly, Florentino Perez has changed his transfer policy in the previous four years. According to Marca.com today’s Real Madrid midfielders such as Isco, Casemiro, Asensio, Ceballos, Kroos, Modric, Kovacic and Llorente cost 140€ million in total. In contrast, Pogba’s transfer to Manchester United, for instance, was around 120€ million. This comparison can be made with Barcelona’s recent transfer of Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for around £135.5m. Real Madrid’s investment in the youth development is a revolutionary policy against modern football, and it is very much alike with Barcelona’s transfer policy when the club was managed by Pep Guardiola.
From La Masia to Barcelona’s version of ‘Galacticos’
Josep Maria Bartomeu: President of Barcelona
In 2014 Barcelona sanctioned by FIFA for a 14-month transfer ban and Josep Maria Bartomeu has used FIFA’s regulation of the Financial Fair Play several times as an excuse to support the investment on La Masia. In reality, young talents from La Masia do not support the first team anymore on a regular basis, and this situation will create significant problems in the future. Specifically, the unsuccessful replacement of the club’s legends including Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernández and Andres Iniesta illustrates that La Masia is under decline and the future is not optimistic. Barcelona has also sold Fabregas, Pedro and Thiago Alcantara while in the previous summer could not bring back Hector Bellerin from Arsenal who is a product from La Masia.
On the other hand, Bartomeu bought Dembele and Philippe Coutinho in January around £300m both. Similarly, reports from Spain have revealed that Antoine Griezmann will be the next significant transfer of Barcelona and along with Messi, Suarez, Dembele and Coutinho will create the next Galacticos in Spain and Europe. However, as Real Madrid’s transfer policy of Galacticos has shown, this model always lead to a failure on the pitch. Barcelona is failed for a third consecutive year to reach the semi-finals of Champions League which is the big goal for players like Messi, Pique, Suarez and Iniesta.
In general, the vast growth of business football influences the strategy of each football club. The philosophy of today’s football is closer to Real Madrid’s fundamentals. Expensive transfers, well-known super-stars and glorious presentations constitute a significant part of Madrid’s history against the romantic policy of Barcelona. Now things have changed, and Barcelona is on this way which is against to the club’s culture and fans’ philosophy. La Masia is on a gradual decline, and thus Barcelona’s future seems uncertain, especially as Lionel Messi is becoming older year by year.