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Best Talent Spotter

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Brazil have always been a land that has produced prodigy talent, and in recent years, no club has taken more advantage of this than Spanish giants Real Madrid. Casemiro, Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr, and Eder Militao are just some of the names that have shown their talents at the Santiago Bernabeu. And the trend has not stopped, with new teenage prodigy Endrick Felipe joining the team in 2024. This strategy that has brought immense success is the brainchild of Juni Calafat, Real Madrid’s chief scout.

In his nine-year stint with the Los Blancos, Juni Calafat has signed top players, some of whom have gone on to become stars for the team. A look at the number of trophies his players have won signed by him is a clear example.

Casemiro has won 18 trophies, Vinicius Jr has won eight trophies, and Eder Militao and Rodrygo have won seven. So, who is Juni Calafat, and how good is he?

Who is Juni Calafat?

Juni Calafat was born to a Brazilian mother and a Spanish father in Madrid, Spain. However, he spent his formative years in Brazil till his youth. This gave him brilliant insights into the Brazilian football system, something he would use to great effect at Real Madrid.

In 2014, he joined Real Madrid as a scout. Over the next three years, he worked his way up by recommending some quality signings and was appointed as the Chief Scout on June 30, 2017. His promotion was personally recommended by Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, who wanted Calafat to find the next big star, something akin to Lionel Messi.

Perez wanted a player who could replicate the journey of Messi by joining at a young age and becoming a world-class player, which would save Real Madrid a lot of money on the transfer market.

And Calafat, in just four years, has managed to bring the required players from Brazil that have formed the core of the club and have helped the team transition into a new era as older players leave.

Juni Calafat recommended signings 

One of the primary reasons behind his immense success is Calafat’s brilliant ability to forge a deep relationship with the players and their families. The acquisition of Vinicius Jr is a perfect example of that.

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When Calafat scouted Vinicius Jr, he was just an 18-year-old playing for Flamengo. Sure, he was talented, but no one could have predicted that he could reach the zenith of football. However, Calafat thought differently and was confident that Vincius Jr could be the Lionel Messi signing for Real Madrid.

He presented a detailed plan of Real Madrid’s future where Vinicius Jr would be an integral part. This type of in-depth work is mainly done when the club is aiming to sign an already world-class player. However, Calafat is different gravy, and this attention to detail helped Madrid beat Barcelona to the signing of Vinicius Jr.

A year later, Calafat would repeat the same process for the signing of Rodrygo and Eder Militao, both of whom have become an integral part of Los Blancos’ senior team.

Calafat is also renowned for not being too social and prefers to do most of his work behind the scenes in silence. And his latest coup signing has to be the talented Endrick Felipe, who has already been christened as the next big star to come out of Brazil.

And if Calafat’s track record is anything to go by, anyone taking the trip across the Atlantic from Brazil to Spain has a high chance of becoming a star at Santiago Bernabeu.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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