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El Magnifico: The Top Three Real Madrid Galacticos

December 08, 2015

- Grant Whittington

Real Madrid have always been renowned as a star-studded side, from the record breaking side of the late 1950’s that achieved five consecutive European Cup wins to the recent teams that have lit up the continental stage. As a club that typically eschews the development of youth in favour of recruiting established, international talents, Real Madrid’s so-called ‘Galacticos’ have commanded millions of pounds in transfer fees during their time and dominated European headlines.

The term ‘Galacticos’ is relatively new, however, and it became prominent after an initial team of modern superstars was built at the turn of the century. Madrid have continued to invest heavily in star names while breaking the world record transfer fee on multiple occasions since then, however, so let’s take a look at the most well-known and successful purchases…

David Beckham (signed from Manchester United in 2003)

While Beckham won just a single La Liga title during his four years in Madrid, he became a truly popular and iconic player for the club after signing for £25 million in 2003. He became a firm fans favourite during a difficult period for the club, starring alongside other stellar names while establishing himself as a stable and consistent presence. While he may not have had the impact of some players, his experience was important as Madrid underwent a challenging and prolonged period of transition.

Luis Figo (signed from Barcelona in 2000)

One of the most naturally gifted Galacticos, Luis Figo also caused a huge stir when he signed from fierce La Liga rivals Barcelona for a then-world record fee of £38.7 million back in 2000. Although he was not the first to make such a move, he was considered an idol in Catalonia and the switch saw him become a divisive hate figure for a time. Despite having a pigs head thrown at him during his first return to the Nou Camp, however, Figo remains one of the true greats of the modern game and helped Madrid to a Champions League triumph in 2002.

Cristiano Ronaldo (signed from Manchester United in 2009)

Ironically, it was young Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo who replaced David Beckham when he left Manchester United and joined Real Madrid in 2003. Just six years later, Ronaldo has established himself as the best player in the world and made a long-awaited switch to Madrid in a record-breaking £85 million move. Although this fee has since been eclipsed by Madrid’s purchase of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur, Ronaldo has enjoyed incredible success in six years at the Bernabeu, becoming the fastest player in La Liga history to score 150 goals and plundering 329 goals in just 318 appearances for the club.

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