Jorge Valdano, former Real Madrid player, coach and general manager, has discussed a conversation he had with Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid's president, 15 years ago when Valdano was a director at the club about the possibility of signing a promising young Brazilian player called Kaká.
Real Madrid could have signed Kaká for just 12 million euros
"It was 2002, and for Madrid's centenary celebrations we organised a match of some of the world's leading players against Real Madrid. It occurred to me to call Kaká. He came and played brilliantly in the last 20 minutes. At the end of the match I spoke to Florentino and told him: 'We've got an amazing player here who right now costs 12 million euros and in four years time he'll cost 60'. The answer from Florentino for me was unforgettable: 'Don't worry Jorge. We'll wait till he costs 60'", said the Argentinean on El Transistor programme on radio station Onda Cero.
Kaká ended up being signed by Real Madrid in 2009 for 65 million euros, at the time the second highest ever transfer fee behind Zidane's 75 million euros acquisition.
Real Madrid transfer policy changed
Recently however, Real Madrid have turned their attention to signing younger less developed talents, such as Marco Asensio, Casemiro, Vallejo, Vinicius and the inbound Dani Ceballos. However Valdano doesn't believe that the change in strategy is because of lessons learnt in the past, but the need to adapt to the new conditions of the transfer market.
"Nowadays, to buy a Vinicius, who still hasn't broken through in the top-flight, is starting at 60 million euros [it was reported that Real Madrid paid 45 million to sign the player]. Did Florentino change? No. The market changed, now it's incredibly difficult for the club to be able to wait for a talent to mature into a Ballon d'Or winner and then buy them just because you're Real Madrid. Now you have to get in before then, because if any Premier League club gets their hands on a major talent, it'll be difficult to sign them later. You have to think with a certain amount of planning and buy at prices you can pay players who are bets for the future", said Valdano.