Updated: 6 days ago
by Javier Diaz
With an astonishing 14 Champions League trophies, Real Madrid currently has more than any other team in Europe. Due to their recent and past success, they have gained fame for being dominant in the European competition.
Pep Guardiola, the current coach of Manchester City and Real Madrid's rivals in the current tournament edition, once said, "Real Madrid is the benchmark in the history of the competition. No other club comes close to their success and aura in the Champions League".
With five trophies in the last nine years, they sure do stand out as fierce rivals. Therefore, many are left to wonder what the keys to their modern success have been.
Factors of Success
It is undeniable that one of the main factors that has led to their rise as Spanish giants has been their financial strategies. Florentino Perez, the club's current president, has led the organization to not only be thought of as a team but also as a brand. The club's success in competitions and Florentino's strategies have made the team famous worldwide, leading to large sponsorship deals, as seen with the construction of their new stadium. Large recognition all around the world has caused them to be the team with the second-highest revenue in the world, just under Manchester City, in the 2021-2022 season. High revenues and commercial success helped them secure stellar transfers.
Another of the main reasons why Real Madrid has dominated Europe over the last decade has been their transfer policy. Some examples of their recent bargains:
1. Eduardo Camavinga- Cama, as his teammates call him, cost Real Madrid a surprisingly small fee of 31 million euros. He is now one of the youngest players to have won all six major possible trophies with the club.
2. Federico Valverde- Fede was one of Real Madrid's most important pieces for the 2021-2022 season and is now an uncontested starter in all competitions. He only cost the Galactico side 450 thousand euros, and is now valued at over 100 million euros.
3. Vinicius Junior- Vini Jr is currently one of the biggest talents in the sport of soccer. In 2018, when Real Madrid signed him, he was initially seen as a flop, meaning that he would not live up to his expectations. However, since then, he has taken a new trajectory and is now valued at over 120 million euros.
4. Rodrygo- Although it was hard for Rodrygo to carve his spot into the starting squad, with his crucial performances in the 21/22 Champions League campaign, he was finally able to solidify himself into a starting role. His initial transfer cost the Galacticos 45 million euros, and since then he has almost doubled his worth and is now valued at 80 million euros.
While it is undeniable that their finances and transfer bargains have been major reasons for their success in the last decade, something that many have credited with causing their success is their mentality and the atmosphere in the city.
"The Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League is the ultimate test for any team. Real Madrid's dominance in the competition is partly due to their home fortress and the fear it instills in opponents," said Carles Puyol, FC Barcelona legend and lifelong Real Madrid rival.
Playing at the Bernabeu is an experience unlike any other, where the Spanish Giants' rivals often feel the pressure building from the city and its fans.
With the current Ballon D'or, the most important individual trophy a player can win in soccer, Karim Benzema seemed to be destined to guide the team to success in the 22/23 Champions League campaign. Although Real Madrid started the season on the right track, the level of their performance declined.
While the Spanish giants seemed to struggle in the latter half of the season, their rivals in the semi-finals of the 22/23 Champions League, Manchester City, seemed to get exponentially better as the Premier League season (the first division of English soccer) was coming to an end. Manchester City is currently on a 23-game unbeaten run and seemed to have the biggest odds of beating Real Madrid and playing in the finals.
Going into the semi-final, the aggregate score was 1-1, a result unpleasant to Real Madrid as they were traveling away to the City stadium. In the semi-finals, the Galacticos did not play at their usual level and ended up losing 5-1 on aggregate. While it is a disappointing result for the Spanish side, many admit that Pep Guardiola's team deserved a shot at the finals after many discouraging years. Now they are heading to Istanbul on June 10th to clash with Inter Milan.
The shocking loss against Manchester City has raised many doubts about the galactic club. Many are wondering whether Karim Benzema can remain at the top level as he is getting older. Similar doubts have risen about other aging players such as Daniel Carvajal, Luka Modric, and Tony Kroos. However, Real Madrid is already preparing for their future, as seen with their past signings and new acquisitions for the 23/24 season.
This loss marks a moment of transition for Real Madrid, where they will look to prepare a project for future success. Fabrizio Romano, a well-known and trusted journalist, said that Fran Garcia had completed a transfer to Real Madrid around the start of 2023 but that he had decided to stay with Rayo Vallecano for the remainder of the 22/23 campaign. Garcia is an efficient defender who can really help the club in a position that lack depth in.
Brahim Diaz is also returning from his temporary loan to AC Milan, another promising and athletic midfielder. Endrick, a 16-year-old Brazilian striker with a lot of promise, has also signed for the club for a fee of 35 million plus 25 in variables.
All of these transfers demonstrate Real Madrid's eagerness to push forward into the future with a young squad that is hungry for titles. If the past repeats itself, they could have a series of trophies in the near future.