There have been many cases in the past of Barcelona and Real Madrid pursuing a deal for the same player, with perhaps the most recent being Endrick Felipe, who will join the latter in the summer of 2024 having agreed a deal in December.
Real Madrid beat Barcelona to the punch in that case, and they did so again in one that happened in 2017. Los Blancos midfielder Dani Ceballos was an emerging talent at Real Betis at that time, when both sides of El Clasico looked to sign him.
In an interview with Universo Valdano (as per Sport), Ceballos explained that Florentino Perez played a huge role in his decision to join Real Madrid instead of Barcelona.
“I was tug of war with Real Madrid and Barcelona, but it was fundamental when Florentino called me. No player is capable of saying ‘no’ to Real Madrid.
“It was he who convinced me on a sporting level. He told me that he was the future of Madrid’s midfield and that he wanted me to play here. I hung up the call and immediately told my parents ‘tomorrow we go to Madrid and sign.'”
After six years as a Real Madrid player, Ceballos’ time at the Santiago Bernabeu could be coming to an end, with his contract expiring this summer. However, he wants to prove that he is worthy of a contract extension.
“I want to play football and be judged by my level on the pitch. I don’t want a renewal if I don’t deserve it, or go to another club if I don’t deserve it.
I want the board and the club to decide whether or not I am good enough for them. Now, the most important thing is to focus on the day to day, to take advantage of my playing time and show people that I want to continue playing at Real Madrid.”
Ceballos has shown his quality so far in 2023, but it remains to be seen whether it’ll be enough to secure him a new deal at Real Madrid, especially with reports emerging that Toni Kroos is set to sign a new deal.