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Real Madrid get set to make history by ending wait for women's team

Patxi VRIGNON-ETXEZAHARRETA
Real Madrid, the best team of the 20th century according to FIFA, has so far been one of the only elite clubs to resist the creation of a female team

After 118 years, Real Madrid will launch a professional women's team on Wednesday by absorbing CD Tacon and launching a fresh Galactico project at the club.

Madrid, the best team of the 20th century according to FIFA, has so far been one of the only elite clubs to resist the creation of a female team.

By taking over Tacon, the women's club based in Madrid and created in 2014, 'Real Madrid Femenino' will become a reality.

Approved at a meeting of shareholders in September last year, the buyout of Tacon for 300,000 euros ($337,000) will become official from July 1, when another recruitment drive will begin.

According to the Spanish press, Madrid have set their sights on the game's finest talents and some of the first signings could arrive this week.

Tacon have already been expanding in preparation.

They signed Swedish internationals Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson, who was nominated for the 2019 Women's Ballon d'Or and who joined last year after finishing third in the Women's World Cup.

But there will be more changes, after the announced departures of Ana Valles, Esther, Marina Martin Massanet, Patri Carballo, Ainoa Campo and Osinachi Ohale, in May.

The goal will be to turn Madrid into contenders both in Spain and Europe, where they will hope to challenge the supremacy of Barcelona's women's team, finalists in the 2018-2019 Women's Champions League and who thrashed Tacon twice this season, 6-0 and 9-1.

"The time has come to build a team that you will all be very proud of," said Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

The change has been done gradually over several months. Since the start of the current season, Tacon, coached by David Aznar, have trained and played their home games at Valdebebas, a few metres from the men's team.

This will continue to be the case this season and the club have not ruled out using the Santiago Bernabeu for showcase matches.

The launch will be an historical moment for the club but for women's football too.

"It's a huge positive," Ada Hegerberg, the first winner of the Women's Ballon d'Or in 2018, told AFP. "I'm hoping they will stabilise the investment over a long period and that they have a long-term perspective because it can't happen overnight.

"You have to invest for a long time to succeed. It's a huge positive that you have the biggest men's club in the world now investing in the women's side. That's how modern women's football should be driven.

"It's the present and the future. And it sends out a message to other clubs, it keeps everyone on their toes when a club like Real Madrid creates a team. I hope they go all in."