There is yet to be official word from Real Madrid, but sources out of both Argentina and Spain have all, but confirmed the transfer of 20-year-old Exequiel Palacios to Madrid. As a young boy in Argentina, Palacios admired Lucho Gonzalez, the former River Plate legend who made spent the peak of his career at FC Porto. But it was at 14 years old, during the World Cup in Brazil, that Palacios discovered one of his new favorite players. It was the engine of the German World Cup winning team, Toni Kroos. Those close to Palacios, said he followed the German like a man possessed. He even revealed his admiration for Kroos on River Plates official channel: “I always try to watch Kroos matches on TV and learn from everything he does”.
All eyes will be on Saturday’s historic Copa Libertadores match between River Plate and Boca Juniors. Arguably one of the most pressure filled matches in the history of football. Real Madrid will certainly be keeping an eye on Palacios’ performance and how the pressure of such a high stakes match weighs on the young mans shoulders. Despite a deal being finalized in January, Palacios is expected to see out the season with River Plate before joining Madrid for the 2019-2020 preseason tour. His agent confirmed as much for Marca, “What we have said to the people at Madrid is that they buy Palacios and leave him here for six months. The interest of Madrid has been there for a long time,” said Renato Corsi, Palacio’s agent. “Madrid have scouted Palacios since the U17 World Cup, so it has been more or less three years since their initial interest.” Corsi commented. Despite what seems like a sudden and meteoric rise, given his recent call up to the full Argentine national team and consistent performances for River Plate, Madrid have known about Palacios’ talent for some time and have been waiting to pull the trigger before the likes of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who were both reportedly after the player. A good performance over the weekend will only see his stock rise as he awaits his dream move to Real Madrid and a chance to link up with his idol, Toni Kroos.