Theo Hernández is now a Real Madrid player after completing his €28m transfer (rising to €30m) on a six-year contract. Madrid paid more than Theo’s release clause, which was €24m, in order to salvage a semblance of good will between the two clubs. But that does not remove the fact that the ‘non-aggression pact’ has been broken. Atlético released a statement yesterday explaining that Theo had never made a first-team appearance, that he had rejected their contract offers, and that his decision to cross the city is his own. Of course it is; footballers go where they want. They hold all of the cards.
Atlético to Real is a controversially-trodden path
Atlético, clearly, are not best pleased. The supporters do not like the idea of their players leaving for Real Madrid, and that is completely logical. Ramón Calderón, despite his prestige and charisma as president of Atlético, had to create the illusion of a triangular deal involving Pumas, of Mexico, in order to facilitate Hugo Sánchez’ move to Madrid. The elder statesmen among the Atleti support will remember with rage the case of Pérez Payá in 1953. He moved to Real Madrid without the need for an official transfer because he was an ‘amateur’. Yet he continued to drive the car that Marqués de la Florida, the then-president of Atlético, had gifted him to compensate for the fact that he did not earn a salary. What happened with Raúl, who left Atlético for Real Madrid when the former closed their youth system, is a different matter.
Theo Hernández a fine full back
Beyond the politics of the move, Theo looks set to blossom in to a fine full-back. His natural power and ability to gallop up and down the flank are reminiscent of Gareth Bale in his early days at Tottenham. He has a great left foot, and is ten years younger than Marcelo. Theo’s arrival coincides with Coentrao’s departure. The Portuguese began as a regular starter, but his time at the Bernabéu has ended as a real mess. In the left-back position Real Madrid now have good back-up in the short term, and a key cog for the team in the medium to long term. Atlético have Filipe Luis well-established in that position, and they will be able to make use of the €30m. But, despite all that, it will still hurt.