Real Madrid’s Champions League squad list could halt some departures

Real Madrid are looking to make several sales before the end of the transfer window, however they may encounter a few issues with regard to a couple of players who had been tipped to leave the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

The lack of offers for the likes of Keylor Navas and Gareth Bale is not the problem. Instead, it is the requirement in the Champions League to have eight players trained by the federation, in this case the Spanish Football Federation, and four who have been brought through the club’s academy.

UEFA defines the latter category as “players who have been a part of the club in any category for three years between the ages of 15 and 21.” Right now, only Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez, Mariano Diaz and Nacho Fernandez would meet those requirements in the first-team squad.

As such, it is worth remembering that a team, in theory, could present a squad list without any player born in their country, so long as they had a minimum of four members of the 25-man squad who had come through their academy. And of those, a minimum of four could have joined from other teams.

Due to this regulation, the potential departures of Lucas Vazquez and Mariano seem a lot more difficult to stomach. One option to be able to sell one of the two, though, would be to allow one of the goalkeepers to depart – Andriy Lunin or Keylor – and include Diego Altube in the squad list as he would fill one of the four spots. This notion of an academy player does not include the likes of Casemiro or Fede Valverde as they did not play for three years in Real Madrid’s youth teams.

The quota of Spaniards right now is made up of Isco, Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Jesus Vallejo, Alvaro Odriozola, Dani Ceballos, Marco Asensio, Mariano, Lucas and Brahim Diaz. Eleven players, but of them there are several who are expected to depart in order to make way for the five new signings: Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo Goes. Two of Spain’s heroes from the European Under-21 Championship triumph this summer, Ceballos and Vallejo, seem certain that they will have to leave. Brahim, meanwhile, has many clubs who want to take him on loan. That would make up the eight players that UEFA require, four from the academy and four not brought through at Real Madrid but from elsewhere in Spain.

Not including the potential signing of Paul Pogba, Madrid have 28 players, of which 17 are foreigners. Any move that they make in the coming days will have to bear this ruling in mind as choosing not to respect the rules will result in the club being given less slots when it comes to registering players for the Champions League, a risk that they will not take.