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Real Madrid and Barcelona feel like two clubs in very different places right now.

The former, newly crowned La Liga champions, put together an astonishing 10-game win streak to lift the trophy with a game to spare, have a deep crop of talented young players and a manager with a clear plan of how to utilise them.

The latter…well, captain Lionel Messi has described the team’s performances as “erratic and weak,” the average age of the squad is a concern, the playing style is confused and the fans are seething.

How has it come to this, given Barca were crowned European champions as recently as 2015, with Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez representing football’s golden trident at the time? Since then, Real Madrid have won four UEFA Champions League titles and have just dethroned their rivals in La Liga. 

A look into their transfer business since the summer of 2015 paints a picture. We took every deal from that moment to now and formed a top 10, judging by the price paid vs. what each club has got from the player, but also, crucially, leaving room for some projection too—particularly in the more recent deals. Continue reading

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