Real madrid put galactico policy on hold

For the second summer running, there will be no Galactico signing for Real Madrid. On Monday, Alvaro Morata was presented to the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Marco Asensio to be unveiled on Tuesday. One has been bought back; the other was originally signed in 2014. It represents a change in direction for Los Blancos.

During his first mandate between 2000 and 2005, president Florentino Perez sought to sign the world's best players and complement those with the finest footballers from the youth team. The idea became known as Zidanes & Pavones - named after star signing Zinedine Zidane and homegrown defender Francisco Pavon.

But it failed to work because the likes of Pavon, Raul Bravo, Oscar Minambres, Alvaro Mejia and Javier Portillo were not up to the standard of the team's three elite homegrown players: Guti, Raul and Iker Casillas.

Ultimately, Madrid fell behind Barcelona and Perez resigned following a run of disappointing results. But the construction mandate returned to the presidency in 2009 and vowed to combine the two philosophies once again.

This summer was expected to see a flurry of movement in the market. Unless they can overturn the decision on appeal, Madrid are banned from signing players for the next two windows due to irregularities in the recruitment of young players. But even that could not tempt the club to break the transfer record by bringing in Paul Pogba, who went to Manchester United instead.

So the Madrid fans, who are used to high-profile presentations like those of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Kaka and many more in recent years, are witnessing a different type of unveiling these days. Morata, a homegrown striker who has returned in a buy-back deal after spending the last two seasons at Juventus, was reintroduced to supporters at the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday.

"It's a day of great happiness for me," he said. "I'm back home again. These have been two long years and it was a long wait to come back, but I'm here and I will give my life [for this shirt] as I always have." Before that, Perez said:

"We are going to count on one of the best strikers in the world, who knows what this club means and has done ever since he was a boy. He has become one of the best, he is back home again, and he has earned it through talent and sacrifice." Morata returns to compete with and provide back-up for France forward Karim Benzema, while Asensio made his mark in the UEFA Super Cup win against Sevilla last week with a stunning strike in Trondheim.

Those two, along with Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Lucas Vazquez, Nacho and Isco, are part of the Spanish core for Los Blancos nowadays and with Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema, Luka Modric and James Rodriguez all at the club, there is probably no need to upset the balance with a Galactico signing at the moment.

Zidane, the most high-profile player in the first batch of Galacticos, is clearly keen on a more balanced philosophy - and that includes talented Spanish stars to complement the elite footballers brought in from elsewhere. So while the Zidanes & Pavones policy did not ultimately work out, Zidanes & Moratas might stand a better chance.

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