Clearly James Rodríguez and Luis Suárez are a cut above anyone recently recruited by Real Sociedad, but still it is Carlos Vela rather than that pair who make the cut...
With last season's entire top seven likely to import from Spain this summer, Tim Stannard picks out the good business from the less so. Let's hope he wears a tin hat...
A tenth big European title for Real Madrid is so close that it can almost smell the polish being rubbed onto the trophy.
To say that winning the Champions League for the first time since 2002 is an obsession for the Spanish side is an understatement. A failure to lift the European prize since 2002 is what keeps fans awake at night and drives the unhealthy turnover of managers in and out of the Santiago Bernabéu.
Every year, the papers boast of Madrid having the squad to win 'La Décima', but each season footballing affairs tend to go horribly wrong, whether it be a thrashing by Borussia Dortmund, or penalty shoot-outs against Tuesday's Champions League opponents.
At least matters have improved a tad for Madrid, as tear-jerking exits occur at the semi-final stage these days rather than at the start of the knock-out rounds, which was a fun trend for a while.
This season, the odds of Madrid passing through to the final (also for the first time since 2002) look 50-50. These are odds that supporters will take, considering the opposition are Bayern Munich - a team that has caused anxious moments in the past - led by Pep Guardiola, co-constructor of the Barcelona which caused no end of distress for both Real Madrid and Pepe in particular back in the day.
Madrid hold a most slender 1-0 lead but will have Gareth Bale back and a fully fit Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks, fresh from a pair of ridiculously good couple of goals over Osasuna on Saturday. The victory continued a streak that sees Madrid scoring in every La Liga and Champions League game since the end of September, barring one notable exception - the 2-0 defeat to Borussia in the previous round. "We are not mad enough to think that we are through already," said Carlo Ancelotti at Monday's pre-match press conference.
Despite the evils of tempting fate, Madrid fans might now want to foresee the possibility of a Champions League final...and what a complete and utter nightmare it could be. The two choices of opponent in Lisbon will cause the heebie-jeebies for supporters in a footballing boil-or-freeze-to-death pub conundrum.
Should Chelsea prevail with three banks of defenders against Atlético Madrid, then José Mourinho will be standing in the way of Champions League glory. And that's a bit rich considering the Portuguese coach had been hired to deliver just that to the Spanish club. Indeed, Mourinho left such bad blood at the Bernabéu that most Madrid players will be too busy trying to boot the ball at their former manager on the touchline to focus on winning the game.
However, that is absolutely nothing compared to losing to Atlético Madrid in the final. Indeed, it is something so utterly improbable that is completely impossible to comprehend its enormity and impact. It's like snails growing hundreds of times in size overnight and turning carnivorous.
To finally reach La Décima and lose to Atlético Madrid, a club with zero desires on the Champions League trophy until about two months ago, would be the biggest humiliation in the history of Spanish football. It's unlikely that Madrid supporters would ever be able to show their faces in bars anywhere near the Vicente Calderón for at least a thousand years.
So while supporters might be dancing in the streets of Alicante or wherever they happen to be on Tuesday night, they may want to spare a moment and consider the true horrors that could await their club.
Tim Stannard - follow him on Twitter
I just read this article after the confirmation that the 2 Madrid teams will now compete for the trophy but boy - its such a pointless article, so what should Madrid do, try and bribe UEFA and win at all cost? Of course not! The fact that it is Atleti will now make the final the mother of all matches because of the history and rivalry of the 2 teams, victory or loss may even cause an internal strife in a king's family!!!!- iyibaba