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Real Madrid Facing Barca-Style Transfer Ban As FIFA Investigates Under-18 Signings

In news that is likely to raise a smile or two in the Nou Camp, FIFA today confirmed that Real Madrid is under formal investigation over a potential breech of the rules governing the transfer of under-18s from outside the European Union: the same transgression for which Barcelona received a two window transfer ban last year.

The investigation concerns two Venezuelan youngsters – Manuel Godoy and Fernando Macias – signed by Madrid in 2012 and 2013 respectively via an intermediary. The investigation will focus on whether or not the players’ parents relocated to the EU for non-footballing reasons. If they didn't, Madrid will likely face the same transfer ban meted out to Barca in the summer of 2014.

Real were made aware of the investigation shortly before Christmas, and submitted the information requested by FIFA earlier this month. They say the club has nothing to hide, with Madrid’s director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno telling Spain’s AS newspaper that everyone at the Bernabau is “absolutely confident in Real Madrid’s transfer dealings.”

real madrid sign lucas silva

(Photo: @MailSport | Twitter)

But The18 is calling bullsh*t. Real typically conducts all its transfer business in the Summer window, yet have been unusually busy this January. In addition to the headline signings of 16-year-old Martin Odegaard (not governed by Article 14) and Brazilian Lucas Silva for a combined $20 million, Madrid are about to close two further deals: 19-year-old River Plate goalkeeper Augusto Batalla and 16-year-old AC Milan midfielder Hachim Mastour.

So, in all probability, that’s four signings this January alone compared to just one permanent transfer in the previous five January windows combined.

Is it purely coincidental that Real receives news of the FIFA investigation mid-December, and, come January, they go on a signing frenzy? Is it balls.

Of course, while Barca fans will enjoy the schadenfreude of Real Madrid meeting the same fate as the Blaugrana, the real winners of any transfer ban would be Man United. Not only would two of their biggest rivals in the transfer window be taken out of business, it will make their contract negotiations with David de Gea just that little bit easier.

You can follow Robert Gordon on Twitter.

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