Spanish crib, raised in Brazil, José Antonio Calafat de Souza has become for six seasons the maker in the shadow of all the signings of Real Madrid. The change of philosophy of Florentino Pérez throughout this decade, with the strategic premise of hiring young talents without waiting to pay hundreds of millions when they are stars, meant the great opportunity for «Juni» Calafat.
José Ángel Sánchez, the president’s right hand, signed him in 2014 as head of South American football. He had to probe all the markets, the Brazilian, the Uruguayan, the Argentine. Since then, the players chosen by José Antonio and his ability to negotiate with clubs, proxies and family members made him grow until he was appointed head of international football at Real Madrid. From the beginning he wanted to eat the world. The Brazilian Reinier Jesus is his last white blackbird. This is his story.
Fede Valverde: Calafat asked to tie him for five million, Barcelona stalked and Florentino Pérez hired him
Born in our country, he stood out as a futsal player in the Móstoles. He specialized in “scouting” and his love for football allowed him to develop that discipline. He discovered that he had magic to discover young figures. “It’s the hardest part of football,” said Juan Santisteban, a Real Madrid historical of the top five European Cups. «Suddenly, someone who has not shown anything explodes two years later, while others sink. It depends on self-confidence and the circumstances of your personal life ». Calafat has a head to see details. And he is ready as anyone to predict the growth of a soccer player.
Rodrygo: “It’s even better than Vinicius,” they told him; he saw him play and asked the white club to acquire Florentino Pérez and José Ángel Sánchez and he was hired
In January 2014, he sent this whatsapp to all the representatives he knew in Brazil: «I need a forward, from 19 to 22 years old, for our subsidiary». Since then, he has grown a lot in the world of football. Visionary of those budding stars, he already had enough contacts at all levels in South America and many doors opened. He met hundreds of representatives and established relationships with all clubs.
Militao: it is a central of the future and advised its acquisition
Calafat begged Real Madrid to sign Fede Valverde in 2016, which cost five million dollars. Barcelona also wanted him. Florentino Pérez and José Ángel Sánchez hunted him.
Vinicius: as soon as he saw him play, he followed and asked for his hiring
He saw Vinicius during several games and requested his acquisition. He watched Rodrygo in videos and live and also advised his signing. The two were tested by City, Liverpool, United, Chelsea, Bayern and Barcelona. Florentino Pérez opted for them and secured them for Real Madrid. Juni also supported the arrival of Militao. His last operation is Reinier. He has followed the evolution of the Brazilian striker for a long time and his report has come true. It is signed.
Reinier Jesús Carvalho: it’s his last choice. Expect him to triumph at Real Madrid
Things don’t always go well. «It is always expected that one in three or four players does not arrive, because they are very young and triumphing in Real Madrid is very difficult, but we signed them with a few years to take care of them, to train them, to withstand the pressure and just think in proving its worth, ”says a professional of the entity. One of those cases was Lucas Silva. He stood out as a midfielder at Cruzeiro and was signed in January 2015. Real Madrid came to him great and a heart condition significantly damaged his career.
A network of “spies”
One operation that he gave up for the cost was that of Neymar. Juni Calafat and Óscar Ribot were in Brazil to hire the Brazilian in 2013, but the price and the excess of “commissions” for family members and attorneys made Real Madrid say “no”.
A network of spies. Observe something different: Calafat watches one hundred videos per week and goes to the fields to analyze the players who have that “magic” to make a difference
His success in so many hires made him earn credit at the club. He ascended. He became head of the company’s international football. Not only does it control South America, it has a team of scouts to watch young soccer around the world. Now it’s the other way around. They knock on their doors. Juni has information on hundreds of soccer players and they send thousands of reports.
How does Calafat work? He doesn’t stop watching videos of soccer players from all over the world. “Rate a hundred every week,” say who is next to him. And it goes live, to the fields, to analyze to the soccer players that it has options to play in the white set. When he chooses Valverde, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Militao, he attacks three parts. Talk to their representatives, talk with their clubs and meet with their families to expose the interest of Real Madrid, their process in the white club, their way of life and the help they will receive to live with their son, a facet in which they also participates.
Club, family and guardians: you must work seed. Talk to all three parties to get a transfer price and convince family members of their way of life in Madrid
Your persuasion ability is unlimited. Fede Valverde’s mother went to see the president of Peñarol, Juan Pedro Damiani, to admit his departure to the Spanish team. It was his son’s great occasion.
Anticipate quickly: if necessary two million more are offered, but it is key to reach the agreement. Dilate the situation allows other clubs to bid
Calafat has been in charge of traveling, convincing and negotiating in the acquisitions of Hazard and Odegaard, Kubo and Jovic. Not only is he scout, he is also “the negotiator.” Florentino Pérez decides, José Ángel Sánchez commands and Juni Calafat executes. .