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Pep: “Always I have the feeling that when Barcelona or Real Madrid knock on the door of players then it is difficult to say no.”

Manchester City v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Nick Potts/Pool via Getty Images

It’s kind of an unwritten rule, but generally speaking, prestige, royalty, brand, history — it all matters when star players sign deals. Not everything is about money, and sometimes players will take less to push their way to a big club like Real Madrid or Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Real Madrid in 2009 during a dark time, for example — and both Barca and Real have plenty examples throughout their history of luring superstars during some of their worst years.

That’s what Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola alluded to when addressing a question about Ferran Torres wanting to leave his team to sign for FC Barcelona this window — a deal that may yet still prove to be complicated because of La Liga’s salary cap rules, which insist the signing is dependant on Barcelona releasing players.

“Always I have the feeling that when Barcelona or Real Madrid knock on the door of players then it is difficult to say no,” Guardiola said. “So difficult.”

What Guardiola is saying is definitely true, and one of the main reasons why the argument last summer of ‘Why would Mbappe want to leave PSG’s project for Real Madrid?’ didn’t hold up.

Obviously that idea has changed more now given how both teams have performed this season, but doubting Real Madrid’s ability to persuade starts to join is generally silly.