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Real Madrid: Five of the Santiago Bernabeu’s comeback kings

In recent history, Real Madrid have used the buyback clause in superb fashion building themselves a juggernaut for the present and future.

Many teams across the top flights of Europe always find themselves with excess squad members before the closing of the transfer window in August but do not necessarily want to sell. Though the team may have more than the permitted number of players on their squad, the extras may be the key to the future. 

Teams look to send players on loan spells not only for the sake of freeing up space but to also allow those players to gain valuable first team minutes and experience. Chances are if a player is sent out on loan it is not because they lack quality but, in comparison to their peers, they may not be of equal or greater skill. 

In other cases, players who are considered extra weight will be transferred to another club but with plenty of fine print in the contract. For many years Real Madrid has been criticised for not producing home grown talent, but they seem to have a new method to the madness of winning, the buyback clause. 

RealSport takes a look at what exactly a loan and a buyback clause are and how Real Madrid have learned to benefit from the lucrative element to contracts.

What is a loan?

In the world of football, a loan is where a team (such as Real Madrid) will temporarily send one of their players to another club, often for a small fee. Real Madrid has completed this process numerous times as to allow players to gain first team minutes and growth rather than wasting their talents on the bench. This is also beneficial to smaller teams as they are given access to great talents without having to shell out the money if they were to make them a purchase. 

What is a buyback clause?

When a team such as Real Madrid sells a player to another club they may place a buyback clause in the contract. This clause is activated when the club takes note of their former players status and wishes to have them back. The benefit of the clause in that the player can be brought back without having to pay their full market value plus any other fees attached to the player. 

Here are 5 notable loanees or buy back clauses that were activated on players currently in the Real Madrid squad:

  1. 1 Dani Carvajal

    Departure: Carvajal moved to Germany in a €5 Million to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2012.

    Return: The right-back was brought back to Spain for €6.5 Million in 2013, after just one impressive season in Germany.

    Outcome: Carvajal is an integral piece to Madrid's back line. His ability to play as a wing-back proves troublesome to many teams while his defensive capabilities are spot on. Being a first team player he has much to offer the team and has matured both on and off the pitch. 

    He is now regarded as one of the top right-backs in world football. 

  2. 2 Casemiro

    Departure: Sold to €6 Million to FC Porto in 2014, having joined Madrid from São Paulo FC in 2013. 

    Return: Madrid exercised their €7 Million buy-back clause, after one impressive year with the Portuguese side that saw them reach the quarter-finals of the UCL.

    Outcome: Casemiro has been a big part of Zidane's plans as manager. The Brazilian provides a cushion to more attack minded midfielders, allowing them to create chances for those ahead and not fret over the loss of possession.

    Like Carvajal, Casemiro's Madrid return has led to many labelling as one of the best in his position in world football. 

  3. 3 Marco Asensio

    Departure: After being bought from RCD Mallorca for €3.5 Million in 2015, at just 18 years of age, Asensio was loaned out to Espanyol. 

    Return: After a successful season in Catalonia, making 12 assists, Asensio returned to the Bernabeu. 

    Outcome: Although he is not a consistent starter, people are already calling for the youngster to start over record-signing Gareth Bale and he is currently considered to be the biggest talent in football. 

    Asensio has already shown up in a number big games - including world-class goals against Barcelona and a goal in the Champions League final - showing that he has no fear in the spotlight.

    His current value is anyone's guess, but I think it's safe to say that it exceeds the €3.5 Million that Madrid paid for him!

  4. 4 Lucas Vasquez

    Departure: Sent on loan to Espanyol, which became a permanent €2million deal in early June 2015. 

    Return: Later that same month, June 2015, Madrid made a U-turn and exercised the buy-back clause written into Vasquez's Espanyol contract. He returned for an undisclosed fee. 

    Outcome: Since his return, Lucas has fought tooth and nail to gain first team minutes and for the most part has not disappointed when given opportunities. He is a high-quality squad player and has made 87 appearances since his return to the Santiago Bernabeu. 

    Reminiscent of José Callejon before him, Vasquez could probably be a star man for another top European side, if he made a move. 

  5. 5 Marcos Llorente

    Departure: Llorente was sent on loan to newly-promoted Alaves last season.

    Return: This summer, Llorente return home to Madrid, as Zidane promised to give him first team minutes this season.

    Outcome: Llorente has glistened after his incredible season with Alaves. The Spaniard was ranked among highest in successful tackles and interceptions. 

    He is a great substitute for Casemiro with his incredible defensive capabilities in the midfield and could prove to be vital when Zidane is required to rotate his squad of diamonds.


The numbers may not be staggering, but then again that is the beauty of a loan or contacts with a buyback clause, they don't need to be. Los Blancos has learned how to use these methods to their benefit. 

The future generations of Madrid's squad are coming together and it is a wonderful sight to see with such care and fostering being put into these players without hurting the bank. 


The wealth of talent is also a key that fits perfect in Zidane's hand as his tactic of rotating the squad has proved successful. Zizou will have no shortage of selections this season, the only problem managers wish to have. 

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Mushtaq Nizamdin

Mushtaq is currently an undergraduate student studying Therapeutic Recreation in an Honours program at Seneca College. He is working towards becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and working with athletes.

He is a Real Madrid fan at heart but writes about football with his mind.

Mushtaq referees soccer at his school and coaches as a volunteer in the community.

Real Madrid: Five of the Santiago Bernabeu’s comeback kings

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