If you turn 30 at Real, you fall into the “codex” trap

Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Marco Asensio, Dani Ceballos, Nacho Fernandez and Mariano Diaz – seven of Real Madrid’s first team players have been free to negotiate and sign pre-contracts with any interested club for a month now (from January 1 ). The reason is simple – the current contracts of all the players listed expire on June 30.

This uncertainty would be frightening for many clubs, but not for Real. It’s just that the Madrid giants’ approach to contract renewals is based on well-established traditions.

At the “Bernabeu” there are certain rules for more than half a century, and no one in the club can violate the “code”. The idea is to pay players for what they will do in the future, not for what they have done in the past. And even the biggest stars past their 30s are only offered one-season extensions. No matter if they are legends, no matter in what form they are – no one can bypass this law. And Sergio Ramos is the best example of this in recent times.

At the start of 2021, the centre-back, whose contract was due to expire next summer, asked for a two-year extension on improved financial terms after turning down what turned out to be the club’s first and last offer of a season. He made a big mistake that he tried to fix. The captain later agreed to Real’s terms, but the 35-year-old Spaniard was told the offer was no longer valid. So the defender went to PSG.

The iron canon at the “Kings” dates back to Santiago Bernabeu, the long-term president of Real Madrid, whose name the club’s stadium bears.

It is from him that the practice of not extending contracts for more than one year after the players turn 30. In the 1960s, the careers of players were much shorter than they are now, when athletes take care of themselves and enjoy sporting longevity. Despite this, the club continues to apply the proven policy, which over the years has shown its effectiveness.

Among other things, it allows to maintain flexibility in terms of wages and other expenses, while increasing the financial capacity to rejuvenate the team.

However, the situation is slightly different at the moment, with not all expiring players over the age of 30, so the club will have to come up with a solution.

It will certainly be easy on Karim Benzema, whose future is at least in doubt. There are even rumors that his contract has been automatically extended for another year after winning the Ballon d’Or, but so far they have not been confirmed by Real. In any case, negotiations should not be a problem.

As for Modric, it is not known what will happen. So far, the signs are mixed. If the Croatian asks for it, he will stay in the team. With a contract for another year, of course.

Toni Kroos is now 33 and is another footballer with the “exemplary” profile whose wish will be respected. Sources close to the midfielder claim he will not make a decision before the Champions League last 16 tie with Liverpool.

Marco Asensio (27), Dani Ceballos (26), Nacho Fernandez (33) and Mariano Diaz (29) are the others with expiring contracts.


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