Real Madrid made headlines in the early 2000s as it bought major star after major star. David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Luis Figo assembled an all-star team wearing Real Madrid’s famous white kit. Yet, that cast did not have the success that its transfer fees and wages. That relative failure, and the ending of the Cristiano Ronaldo era, forced Real President Florentino Perez into a new era. The adoption of youth and development as a means to success has already paid dividends for Real Madrid, and it will continue to do so for at least one decade.

Most recently, transfer rumors emerged that Real Madrid is targeting two teenage talents. Lille center-back Leny Yoro and Franco Mastantuono, a midfielder at River Plate, are at the top of Perez’s transfer goals. These two go far against the Galacticos that Perez would have preferred during his first stint as the club’s president.

This follows the club’s signing of players like Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Arda Guler and even Jude Bellingham. When these players joined Real Madrid, they were either teenagers or in their early 20s. For some, that meant unproven gambles from Real Madrid. While Bellingham had shown what he was capable of at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, Tchouameni and Camavinga did not have significant experience in major contests.

Now, Real Madrid is reaping the rewards of having those young players. Bringing in more players like that will ensure more success, whether domestically or internationally, over the next generation.

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Real Madrid youth ensure major trophies without spending

This season, Real Madrid is nearing a second LaLiga title in the last three seasons. Also, the club is back in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals for the third straight year. While players like Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo carried the side to success in the 2010s, Real Madrid quickly realized that this was not a sustainable practice. Spending loads of cash on players that may not pan out directly with Real Madrid led to harsh criticisms.

That is what happened in the early 2000s. Real Madrid won La Liga in the first year of the Galacticos era before triumphing in the UEFA Champions League in the 2000/01 campaign. Yet, a barren spell from the 2002/03 season to 2005/06 yielded just one trophy. Granted, Real Madrid finished second in La Liga twice and was the runner-up in the 2003/04 Copa del Rey. Given the talent in the squad, particularly leading the line, this was a massive disappointment.

Bringing in younger players serves multiple benefits to Real Madrid. On one hand, it is cheaper. That does not mean Real Madrid is getting players at bargain prices. It spent $110 million on Bellingham and a further $86 million on Tchouameni. But it did save, relatively speaking, on other players. Camavinga was just $33 million. Guler cost $21 million. Brahim Diaz fetched a fee of $18 million as a teenager five years ago. Even Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo each cost less than $50 million as teenagers. They finished their youth development in the Real Madrid system before starring for Los Blancos.

Kylian Mbappe combines Galacticos with developed players

The other benefit comes from development and experience. Each of those players is under the age of 25. That gives Real Madrid multiple opportunities and ways to capitalize on success. In the short term, each of these players has proven that they are among the world’s best in their position. Real Madrid remains one of the most formidable teams in the world. The upcoming tie against Manchester City is a battle between perhaps the two best teams in Europe. That was the biggest game of the young careers of several Real Madrid players. With the addition of Bellingham to go along with that experience, Real Madrid is perhaps even more formidable.

When you consider how successful Real Madrid’s talents are already, tacking on someone like Kylian Mbappe sets the club apart. By many accounts, Kylian Mbappe is the best soccer player in the world. Despite the impending log jam of players up front, Carlo Ancelotti will have options to score goals with ease. Vinicius and Rodrygo have developed into truly world-class players, and Jude Bellingham sitting just behind them makes for an elite front three.

Kylian Mbappe would be the jewel in a front-four diamond that seemingly no defense would be able to stop. That is what having players develop allows the club to do.