Undoubtedly, this week will be one to remember. While women’s football has been in a struggle since the Covid-19 pandemic appeared, it’s great to have big, and good, news from time to time. And, clearly, this is a big one: Real Madrid, one of the biggest men’s teams in Europe and the world, has finally an official and professional women’s team.
Last September, Real Madrid, one of the few men’s clubs without a women’s team, purchased the women’s side CD Tacón for €300,000 (£270,000). Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, announced:
“Real Madrid C. F. wishes to announce that it has sent the corresponding documentation to the Spanish Football Federation in order to make effective the merger by absorption of Club Deportivo Tacon, a women’s football club, as approved by the Extraordinary General Assembly of Committed Members held on 15 September 2019,” Madrid signalled in a statement released on Wednesday .
“The Royal Spanish Football Federation has informed us that said documentation is correct, so the merger will be effective when the current 2019-20 football season is definitively concluded.
“Real Madrid will play the women’s football competitions from the 2020-21 season, with Real Madrid City as the venue for the team’s matches and training sessions.”
All this means, that from July this year onward, CD Tacón, a previously independent women’s club, will officially become part of the 13-time men’s European Cup winners. It will be the third sporting section of the merengue club alongside the men’s soccer and basketball teams, and the first for a female team since the women’s basketball team CREFF was dissolved in 1977.
Real Madrid’s objective for the new season is to move into the top three positions and qualify for the following season’s Champions League; after Tacón finished 10th out of 16 teams in their first season in the Spanish top flight. Of course, Real Madrid has already been preparing for this new transition of the club, bringing in World Cup stars like Kosovare Asllani (Linköpings FC), Sofia Jakobsson (Montpellier HSC) and Thiasa (Milan).
However, the ‘Galactico’ club has promised to do more investing in young Spanish talent rather than recruiting from abroad; such as Spanish U-19 midfielder Olga Carmona (Sevilla), who is expected to come in on a free transfer.
During the new team’s presentation, Pérez said CD Tacón was the chosen one to form the project around because “this club has an academy structure which will allow us to remain loyal to our philosophy from day one. As such, we will look to scout, train and develop young talent”.
But even with the shadow of the men’s team behind to support, Real Madrid’s women team is brandly new, so it’ll surely need to wait a bit, in order to create a legacy like Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona have been doing for much longer in the women’s game.
Furthermore, their budget is rumoured to be far smaller than champions FC Barcelona Femeni as they seek to secure their own sponsors, while Real Madrid women’s team will continue to be led by Ana Rossell, the former President of CD Tacón. Yet, Real Madrid’s president stays positive about this move to women’s football:
“Real Madrid must be part of this worldwide phenomena and the time has come to face this new challenge and build a football team which is able to compete, and of which we can feel proud,” Pérez concluded.
For now, Barcelona are the reigning champions of La Liga Iberdrola, having been awarded their first title in five years by the RFEF, as the season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic; and just behind them, Atletico Madrid, always a reference of equality and sports-ship in the game.
It’s too soon to know how will Real Madrid face this two giants, or what they will do, but what’s sure is that they have the courage to face this new challenge; and who knows, they might change women’s football history one day.