Real Madrid's "signing" of 7-year-old Argentine Leonel Angel Coira received lots of attention in the media, but was it really a move by the Merengues to snatch up Coira before another club paid a huge transfer fee for him, as was suggested?
“There is no contract,” said Juan Tapiador, manager of the youth division of Real Madrid. All Coria -- or rather his parents – did was sign up for one season, just as if was signing up for Little League.
Coria's signing is no different than other young Spaniards signing for a youth team of a pro club. What makes this different is that Real Madrid has this season added a team for players aged 7-9 and one of its signings happens to be Argentine.
It brought comparisons to the signing by Real Madrid's archrival, Barcelona, of another Argentine, Lionel Messi, at the age of 11. In that case, Messi's move came with the proviso that Barca would pay his medical bills for the treatment of his growth hormone deficiency.