OFFICIAL: Real Madrid beat Barcelona to sign La Liga midfielder

Real Madrid have won the first battle, of sorts, against FC Barcelona – even before the start of their much anticipated pre-season tour of United States, where the two clubs might be crossing paths. The two Spanish giants were heavily linked with a move for Real Betis midfielder Dani Ceballos and it is the Santiago Bernabeu outfit, who have won the race for the signature of the coveted midfielder.

According to Real Betis chairman Angel Haro, the 20-year-old is on his way to Real Madrid after he rejected the contract offer by the Benito Villamarín outfit. Speaking in an interview, Haro said: “Dani has rejected our offer to extend his contract with Betis and Real Madrid have told us that he has an agreement with them. Both clubs are talking, in hours or days we will have news.”

It is expected that Los Blancos will make an announcement confirming their capture of the highly coveted Spaniard in the coming hours.

Dani Ceballos has established himself as one of the best young midfielders in the world right now after two excellent seasons with Real Betis’ first team. The Spaniard announced himself to the world in style as he produced a string of convincing performances in the heart of Spain’s midfield in the recently concluded UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

For his exploits with La Rojita – who finished the tournament as runners-up, losing 1-0 to Germany in the final – Ceballos was named the ‘Player of the Tournament’ ahead of teammate and Golden Boot winner Saul Niguez. Apart from this, the 20-year-old also made it to the Team of the Tournament.

Real Madrid and Barcelona were both heavily linked with a move for the coveted midfielder, who is believed to have a €18 million release clause in his contract. The Spaniard is now expected to put pen to paper on a six-year-long deal with Real Madrid, making him their second signing of the transfer window after Atletico Madrid left-back Theo Hernandez, who Los Blancos signed for €24 million.

Real Madrid’s transfer strategy has changed drastically under Zinedine Zidane, with the club no longer going after Galacticos, instead, they are focussed on signing young players with huge potential, who also help address the few shortcomings in their squad and Ceballos is a very good example of that. It is this squad depth which helped the Santiago Bernabeu outfit win La Liga last season, and could prove to be the difference once again.