As one of the most storied and successful clubs in world football, Real Madrid are used to leaving sentiment behind. Having seen off recent legends like Raul Gonzalez, Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo with minimal fanfare and affection, it should be no surprise to see Los Blancos eyeing a similar cull come the end of the 2020-21 season. Despite finding themselves in surprise contention for domestic and European honours after a glacial start to the season, it looks like Madrid will look to cut costs majorly in the summer of 2021. This will start with the exit of some important veterans from the first-team picture.
Indeed, key decisions are set to be made on two domestic products in Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vasquez. The former is a Sevilla academy boy, but has played at Madrid long enough to be seen as one of their own. A multiple winners of domestic and international trophies, Ramos looks almost certain to not get the multi-year extension he desires. While some still believe the club will cave, it is believed that they wish to make a point no matter the cost to the dressing room. By giving Ramos what he wants, it would open the door to have to do the same for other veterans – something Madrid would like to avoid.
Indeed, Ramos is not the only long-serving hero to be on the likely exit stage; Luka Modric, too, could leave in the summer. Neither have had their contracts renewed, with talk of salary rises and/or multi-year extensions out the window in favour of salary reductions and one-year terms. Given the quality of both players, it is likely that more lucrative and/or long-term deals will be on the table from elsewhere.
Why are Madrid looking to move on so many veterans?
Alongside the aforementioned duo, other players who might move on include academy prospect Vasquez and long-term player Isco. All four are seen as players on huge deals who, in the right circumstances, could offer Madrid space in the wage budget to do other things. Chief targets such as Mohamed Salah and Kylian Mbappe, as well as Erling Haaland, come with huge transfer fee and wage demands. Making those demands possible to be met will require smart movement on the transfer side of things.
And given Madrid have been open about their financial limits brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely they will look to sacrifice their veteran backbone to start a new generation of ‘Galactico’s’ – with moves made for next-generation stars likely.
The club has long held a desire to avoid giving out extensions to players over 30 years of age, and this has seen players who have committed a lot to the cause move on without much fanfare. Many players are seen as expendable at any point in Madrid, but at the moment the club looks especially keen to remove a cadre of old guard talent who might no longer provide them with the value for money they would have hoped for.