Madrid (AFP) – CD Tacon play Barcelona for the final time on Saturday before the club morphs into Real Madrid and the fixture becomes the Clasico of women’s football.
Madrid agreed in September to buy Tacon, with the aim of officially declaring them Real Madrid Women in July ahead of a debut season in Spain’s top flight in 2020/2021.
The last five months have served as a useful period of transition, during which Tacon have signed several ‘Galacticas’, worn white Adidas shirts and switched base to Valdebebas, the same world-class training facility used by Zinedine Zidane and his La Liga title-chasing men’s side.
Tacon’s players have even donned the Real Madrid badge on their kit, albeit briefly. The crest was removed after the team were beaten 9-1 by Barcelona on the opening day of the season.
“The moment has arrived for Madrid to have its own women’s team,” said club president Florentino Perez in September.
“Women’s football is an undeniable reality. It has been growing in spectacular fashion and Real Madrid should be a part of it.”
Although Tacon have steadily improved under coach David Aznar this term, they sit ninth in La Liga and there is little expectation they can win this weekend against Barca, who are first and 24 points ahead.
But as more talent arrives and the steady flow of funding begins to take effect, the gulf in class should close.
There is a belief that in the next few years, Real Madrid Women can make both the Clasico and the Madrid derby even contests.
– ‘No limitations’ –
“The absorption of CD Tacon is because of its excellent academy, which means we can remain faithful to our philosophy,” said Perez. “There are no limitations on what we can achieve.”
For many, the creation of a women’s team by the biggest football club in the world is certainly long-overdue.
Assuming the launch goes ahead in 2020, Real Madrid will have a women’s side 32 years after Barcelona, 19 after Atletico Madrid and 20 after Athletic Bilbao.
“We are not going to buy our place and just start signing players from different countries,” Perez said in 2017. “Our idea is to do it from the base.”
Yet Tacon were already being moulded for a future take-over a year before when they merged with the women’s side of C.D Canillas, the 55-year-old club that has traditionally been a proving ground for Real Madrid youngsters, including the sons of Zidane, Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.
Rene Ramos, the brother and agent of Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, also became Tacon’s vice-president in 2016.
Top targets were told the club had ambitions not only to be absorbed by Real Madrid but reach the top flight too, the latter achieved at the end of last season before a vote on the former was put to an extraordinary assembly in September.
The motion for Tacon to be bought by Real Madrid for 300,000 euros was approved by 91 per cent of the vote, with 810 in favour, 44 against and 40 abstentions.
In the same summer, they recruited an array of talent including Swedish internationals Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson, France defender Aurelie Kaci, England forward Chioma Ubogagu and Brazilian pair Thaisa and Daiane.
“When Real Madrid contact you, it’s hard to refuse,” Kaci told RCM Sport in August.
In December, Asllani and Jakobsson were both named on the shortlist for the Women’s Ballon d’Or.
On Saturday, Tacon’s plan will be to compete and perhaps regain some pride after the humiliation at the hands of Barcelona in August.
From next season, Real Madrid Women will be dreaming bigger.
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