Before they became Galácticos takes a look at the credentials of Real Madrid’s superstars…
When: 1996
From: Inter Milan
Fee: Ivan Zamorano plus £700,000
Had won: 2 x Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, 2 x Campeonato Paulista (Palmeiras)
Real Madrid coach at time: Fabio Capello
The Brazil international was unhappy at Inter Milan because coach Roy Hodgson wanted him to play as a winger, Roberto Carlos saw himself as a left-back. Had only one season with the Nerazzurri and while highly rated, was not a superstar when he joined the Spanish club, but went on to play 584 games for Real Madrid.
When: 2000
From: Barcelona
Fee: £46 million
Had won: 2 x La Liga, 2 x Copa del Rey, European Cup Winners’ Cup (Barcelona)
Real Madrid coach at the time: Vicente Del Bosque
Barcelona felt betrayed by Luís Figo’s switch – not just joining the enemy, but the Portugal international was a world class talent and hugely popular at the Nou Camp – a status that changed immediately after joining Real. His arrival at the Bernabéu signalled the arrival of the Galáctico era under president  Florentino Pérez.
When: 2001
From: Juventus
Fee: £50 million
Had won: 2 x Serie A, Intercontinental Cup (Juventus), World Cup, European Championship (France)
Real Madrid coach at the time: Vicente Del Bosque
Was reported to have been offered to Newcastle in 1996 for £1.2 million, but the Magpies did not think he was good enough. At Juventus, Zinedine Zidane became the best player in the world, a status he held for five years with Real Madrid. Zizou was a world and European champion by the time he joined Real.
When: 2002
From: Inter Milan
Fee: £40 million
Had won: Copa do Brasil (Cruzeiro); Dutch Cup (PSV); Copa Del Rey, European Cup Winners’ Cup (Barcelona); UEFA Cup (Inter); 2 x World Cup, 2 x Copa América (Brazil)
Real Madrid coach at time: Vicente Del Bosque
Was injured for almost two years before the 2002 World Cup when he came back to help Brazil win the trophy. Played only 99 games in five years for Inter, but still earned the nickname Il Fenomeno by the Italian press. Real fans forgave his Barcelona links because they had signed such a good player.
When: 2003
From: Manchester United
Fee: £24.5 million
Had won: 6 x Barclays Premier League, 2 x FA Cup, Champions League, Intercontinental Cup
Real Madrid coach at the time: Fabio Capello
Still extremely popular with Manchester United fans after being part of the most successful era in their history. David Beckham was the second longest-serving player behind Ryan Giggs at the time of his move. BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2001.
When: 2009
From: Manchester United
Fee: £80 million
Had won: 3 x Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, 2 x League Cup, Champions League,
Club World Cup
Real Madrid coach at the time: Manuel Pellegrini
Cristiano Ronaldo was twice voted the FWA’s Footballer of the Year during his six hugely successful years at Manchester United. After scoring 66 goals in his final two seasons at Old Trafford, it took a world record fee for Real Madrid to make him a Galáctico,but he’s been worth every penny.
When: 2013 (to be confirmed)
Fee: £87 million
Has won: Nothing
Current Real Madrid coach: Carlo Ancelotti
The FWA Footballer of the Year may have only one League Cup runners-up medal in his trophy haul, but such a statistic does not to justice to his immense talent. Aged 16 years and 275 days, Gareth Bale became the second youngest player to play for Southampton apart from Theo Walcott. Bale joined Tottenham Hotspur in May 2007 for what proved to be a fee of £7 million.
He found it difficult to displace Benoit Assou-Ekoto initially as the Wales international took 24 games before finally being on a winning Spurs side. It was October 20, 2010 that Bale’s career really took off as he scored his first senior hat-trick against the then European Champions Inter Milan at San Siro. Tottenham lost the Champions League tie 4–3, having been 4–0 down inside the first 35 minutes and playing with 10 men for over 80 minutes of the match after goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was sent-off in the eighth minute, but Bale’s turbo-charged display underlined his growing potential.
Last season could hardly have gone better for Bale. He won both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards and was voted the FWA’s Footballer of the Year, making Bale one of only two players who had won all three in the same season, the other being Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007. He scored 21 goals in the Barclays Premier League, many of them stunning, long-range efforts and while Bale’s medal haul may not compare with previous Galácticos, few midfielders have the pace, power, stamina, skill and goalscoring ability of the Welshman.
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