As Zinedine Zidane continues to transform Los Blancos for success, there are some signs that a return to Brazilian flair is to play an important role.
When he makes his in an official match, Rodrygo will be the 26th Brazilian to wear the famous Real Madrid shirt in their 117-year history. The South American country, in fact, is the second most represented foreign nationality, sitting behind only Argentina, which has seen 28 players step out.
Samba beat sounds at the Bernabéu
Brazil and Argentina are well known for their conveyer belt ability to produce stars of the game, and there appears to be a move by the new Zidane project more towards the rhythm of the samba beat rather than that of the tango. There are currently five Brazilians forming part of the Madrid squad (Militao, Marcelo, Casemiro, Vinicius and Rodrygo), a number that matches the club's record of the 2005/06 season (Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Baptista, Robinho and Cicinho), and that of the 2006/07 campaign (Emerson replaced Baptista, Marcelo came in as Capello showed Ronaldo the door).
Argentina, as a feeder nation, has diminished from Real Madrid's transfer plans of late. We need to go back to the 2012/13 season to find the last representatives, Di María and Higuaín. The next two countries to provide for Los Blancos are Germany and France (both with 15).
Returning to Brazilian football, those two seasons between 2005 and 2007 were especially relevant to the club. In addition to having five Brazilians in the squad, one of the managers at the time was Vanderlei Luxemburgo, born in the state of Rio de Janeiro. He arrived in the middle of the first of those campaigns, with a backroom team of compatriots, and was dismissed around the middle of the second.
There has been at least one Brazilian in the starting line-up of seven of the thirteen European Cup finals won by Los Blancos. They were: Canario in 1960; Roberto Carlos in 1998, 2000 and 2002; and Marcelo and Casemiro in the unprecedented back-to-back-to-back 2016, 2017 and 2018. Marcelo also played the 2014, but began on the bench.
There is a hint of a French accent growing
Unde the guidance of Zidane, it may come as no surprise that the Madrid rebuild adds a touch of French to the foreign influence of Portuguese from the Brazilians. Ferland Mendy has been added to the already settled Varane, who will enter his ninth season while just only 26, Benzema, for his 11th white campaign, and potentially the arrival of Paul Pogba, if Zidane gets his way.
Add to that the Belgian influence of Hazard and Courtois, and the language of romance is likely to fill the Bernabéu in the coming project.