The greatest Galactico is the man building a non-Galactic super-team at Real Madrid.
In what seems a momentous shift in policy, the world’s biggest club no longer relies on signing the biggest names for jaw-dropping fees.
Ironically, at the centre of this project is boss Zinedine Zidane.
A Bernabeu legend and a world-record signing when he made his £49million move from Juventus in 2001, Zizou epitomises the Galactico era.
More than Luis Figo, Ronaldo, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka or Gareth Bale.
And yet, in the last 16 months, he has galvanized a side full of exciting talent that has been largely overshadowed by record-breaking Ronaldo.
Here, we take a look at how Zidane is leading Real’s new approach.
David De Gea could still come in this summer from Manchester United for £60m — a world-record fee for a keeper — but he may be the last of his type for years.
This Madrid is far more than the Ronaldo-Bale bandwagon.
The Welshman is a footnote in this campaign because of his injuries and, in his absence, a host of players have risen to stardom.
Lucas Vazquez, a home-grown winger, Marco Asensio, Spain’s most exciting young footballer and maestro Isco, the darling of the Bernabeu, all lead the way.
Another home-grown idol, Alvaro Morata, has had to bide his time since returning from Juventus last summer — yet he has banged 15 goals in 11 La Liga starts.
Then you have wantaway star James Rodriguez, the last Galactico who came in for £72m in 2014 after six World Cup goals for Colombia.
James has scored five times in Real’s last four matches.
None of the five men have had much time in the Champions League. But in La Liga they have been key.
And Real can pip Barcelona to the title by winning seven points from their last three fixtures, including their game in hand at Celta Vigo.
Zidane rested Ronaldo in several matches over the last month, while Bale was also out injured.
Vazquez, Morata and Asensio were the front three in the 4-2 win at Leganes.
The BBC — Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano — was restored in the 1-1 draw with city rivals Atletico. But Morata, Asensio and Vazquez started the 3-2 win at Sporting Gijon.
Isco led Madrid that day with a sensational double, including a 90th-minute winner.
Zidane’s men have won an incredible 17 points this season with goals in the last ten minutes of matches, many in the final seconds.
In last month’s El Clasico, Asensio came on for the injured Bale before half-time and was Real’s best player before Lionel Messi’s dramatic last-gasp winner for Barca.
Then came the 6-2 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna where Zidane’s front five were Vazquez, Isco, James, Asensio and Morata.
Vazquez, James (2), Morata, Isco and Casemiro got the goals.
Isco has attracted interest from Manchester City and Arsenal for years, while Real laughed off a £45m Liverpool bid for Asensio recently.
They might cash in on James this summer — and Morata may seek to play elsewhere too.
Both will have all the Premier League and European big-hitters on alert.
Methodically and manfully, Zidane has also eclipsed his Atletico rival Diego Simeone.
After losing his first Madrid derby to Simeone, Zizou is undefeated in four.
That includes last season’s Champions League final success, a La Liga win and draw and then last week’s 3-0 triumph in the first leg of their European semi-final.
The pair go again at the Vicente Calderon tonight, with the formbook and scoreline pointing to Real glory.
In the last three years, Real have beaten Atletico twice in the Champions League final and once in the last eight.
Zidane said: “You have to show your value in every match. We won two finals but it doesn’t mean we will go through. It’s wrong to think like that.”
But Real have landed back-to-back blows on Atletico and arch-enemies Barca ahead of the second-leg showdown.
First, on Monday they all but completed the signing of left-back Theo Hernandez, 19, a La Liga sensation at Alaves this season while on loan from… Atletico!
Real will match his £20.2m get-out clause, much to their rival’s fury — and that will add extra spice to tonight’s grudge- match.
Zidane said: “It’s not the time to talk about signings.
“What happens between fans stays there.”
And yesterday Flamengo’s sensational 16-year-old striker Vinicius Junior had a medical at the Bernabeu giants.
He has not even signed a professional contract but is regarded as the new Neymar.
The whizkid will spend next season on loan at Flamengo.
Zizou said: “I don’t know him personally, there is talk of him. I won’t answer what will happen.”
That is all right Zizou, we reckon we know already.