Debunking the myth that Real Madrid’s Galacticos project was a 'total failure'.

It is year 2000, Real Madrid had just won the UEFA Champions League for a record 8th time, under the leadership of Lorenzo Sanz (blessed memory), also their second Champions League title in the 3 seasons, remarkable.

Coincidentally, it was also election year at the club, it was supposed to be a walk in the park for Lorenzo Sanz, especially after the club's successes in the last 3 seasons but someone else had a different plan, Florentino Perez, a construction magnate, businessman and a life long Madridista, he would change the landscape of football transfers and football generally in itself.

While campaigning, he boasted about making Real Madrid a team of galactic superstars by bringing together the best and biggest superstars the game had to offer, the goal was simple - success on and off the pitch.

The idea was to sign atleast one superstar player in the next 4/5 years, and what better way to kickstart such a jarring project by pulling off perhaps the greatest transfer of all time by signing your club's eternal rival captain who was also the best footballer in the world, Luis Figo.

This writer coincidentally started supporting Real Madrid that year, so it's fair to say he witnessed it all.

So, the GALACTICO PROJECT officially begins in the year 2000, what immediately followed was the La Liga title with Luis Figo playing a crucial role in this triumph, the team however fell short in Europe.

So the first season of the 'galactico' project had delivered a league title.

It's the second year and Perez pulls off another spectacular signing, Zinedine Zidane.

The best player of the last 4 years along with Delima Ronaldo, Zidane's transfer was a world record signing, he was a galactico in every sense of the word.

Zidane initially struggled to settle at the club but once he finally did, the frenchman never looked back.

At the end of that season, Real Madrid win a record 9th UEFA Champions League title, with no other than Zinedine Zidane scoring one of the greatest goals in the history of the competition.

In two years, the galactico project had already delivered the League and Champions League to the club, an absolute success on the pitch and also off it by every measure.

It is another year, 2002, a World Cup year, Brazilian superstar Delima Ronaldo overcomes his injury plagues and sets the world alight, Brazil win the World Cup and Ronaldo is the star man.

Florentino Perez identifies his man, alot of people don't know this but of all his galactico signings, Delima Ronaldo's was actually the most difficult to pull off for Perez, not Figo's.

Inter Milan blatantly refused every offer from Real Madrid to sign the Brazilian, it was biggest transfer saga of the summer in 2002, eventually with less than 10 minutes to the transfer window shutting down, Real Madrid and Inter reached and agreement an the Brazilian was off to Spain, just before midnight on deadline day.

Delima Ronaldo didn't waste time settling in, scoring a stunning brace on his debut for Real Madrid.

He would eventually win both the FIFA World footballer of the year and Ballon D'Or awards later that year, proving the transfer to be once again astounding success.

Luis Figo had previously won the Ballon d’Or in 2000 as a Real Madrid player, Ronaldo would now repeat that feat in 2002.

At the end of the season, which is the third year into the GALACTICO project, Real Madrid win La Liga, their 2nd in 3 seasons.

Delima Ronaldo just like the previous galactico signings shone brilliantly that season.

Real Madrid however fall short in Europe, bowing out painfully in the semis.

So the GALACTICO PROJECT by its third year had now delivered a Champions League, 2 La Liga titles, along with an intercontinental (now FIFA Club World Cup) and UEFA Super Cup titles.

Sporting success was evident, the galactico project had delivered atleast one major trophy to the club since it's flagship.

The galactico project lasted 6 years (2000-2006), the first 3 years has been successful for the club on and off the pitch.

It is year 2003, and the club is back in the market for another superstar signing, there's one man who is perhaps the hottest football property in Europe at the time, English fine boy, David Beckham.

Becks falls out with his boyhood club manager SAF and that eventually makes his move to Real Madrid become reality.

This was unfortunately the point where the galactico project took a nosedive sporting wise, now David Becks wasn't a bad or average footballer, he was world class but he was just not the signing Real Madrid needed, as it had Luis Figo in Beckham's exact role but Perez did not care.

Since Real Madrid was signing Beckham, the logical decision would have been to sell Figo but obviously, Florentino Perez wanted all his GALACTICO signing to play together, so instead Claude Makelele was used as the sacrificial lamb and the club's on field fortunes took a hit from that point.

So while the struggles on the pitch continued, off it, it was the opposite.

David Beckham's transfer was a massive massive hit for the club off the pitch, and it was the real turning point for the club's financial fortunes.

While Figo, Zidane and Ronaldo were the best players in the world and had all won either the Ballon d’Or or FIFA World footballer of the year awards at Real Madrid, they all didn't have Beckham's commercial clout.

Real Madrid for the first time under Perez leapfrogged Manchester United and became the richest and most valuable football institutions in the world within just a year after Beckham joined.

Beck's signing was also the last of the 'galacticos', Michael Owen joined a year after Beckham but he wasn't the same player any more so he didn't fit the bill and in any case, he was shipped off after a year.

The next 3 seasons were full of disappointments and heartbreak for the team and fans as the club went trophyless in all of them, which eventually led to resignation of Florentino Perez and an official end to the era of the first GALACTICO project by the club.

So while the last 3 years of the galactico project had been a proper failure, there is no doubt that the first 3 years were successful.

The GALACTICO PROJECT was a tale of two sides, the first side, successful, the other side, failure.

This writer hopes that this article has helped put things into perspective.