Real Madrid ‘must choose between Rodrygo, Vinicius or Eder Militao’ due to Gareth Bale return

Real Madrid ‘must choose between registering Rodrygo, Vinicius or Eder Militao as Gareth Bale occupies up non-EU player place’… while Man United target Kieran Trippier’s status means Atletico Madrid face similar issue

  • Brexit means Gareth Bale and Kieran Trippier both count as non-EU players 
  • LaLiga clubs are only allowed to have three non-EU players in their squad
  • The rule means Real will have to take one of three Brazilian stars out of the squad
  • Real could send Rodrygo to the reserves and play him in the Champions League

Gareth Bale’s imminent return to Real Madrid will cause the club to make tough decisions over Brazilian stars Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Eder Militao due to a change in the rules over players from outside the European Union.

Spanish football federation rules allow for only three players from outside the European Union in each team’s squad, and Brexit has put extra pressure on the two Madrid clubs, who have a host of South American players.

Britain officially left the EU in January 2020 although the period of transition ran until 31 December last year and the Spanish federation made a pact with clubs which meant British players continued to have EU status for the remainder of the season.

Gareth Bale will return to Real Madrid after a loan at Tottenham and counts as a non-EU player

Bale's return means Vinicius Junior's future at the club could now be under threat

Bale’s return means Vinicius Junior’s future at the club could now be under threat

'Bale and Trippier break the quota': Real Madrid and Atletico could be forced to make tough decisions

‘Bale and Trippier break the quota’: Real Madrid and Atletico could be forced to make tough decisions

Bale was unaffected by the change as he was on loan at Tottenham and the pact allowed Kieran Trippier to stay at Atletico and help the club win their first LaLiga title in seven years.

But a front cover report in Spanish newspaper AS on Saturday said the pact will not be in place for the coming season, meaning Trippier and Bale will take up one of each club’s three precious non-EU player places.

Established South American players like Atletico’s Luis Suarez, Angel Correa or Real’s Casemiro get round the rules by having Spanish citizenship but the process takes a minimum of two years and Vinicius, Rodrygo and Militao are still waiting for their applications to be accepted.

Young forward Rodrygo

Brazil defender Militao

Rodrygo (left) and Eder Militao (right) could also face uncertain futures at Real

So is Atletico’s Colombian rightback Santiago Arias, who spent last season on loan at Bayer Leverkusen and may have to find another club should Diego Simeone’s side cling on to Trippier and ward off Manchester United’s interest in him. 

Real have two other non-EU players among their ranks in Japan midfielder Takefusa Kubo and Brazilian Reinier, although both players will be sent out on loan and not be included in their squad for the coming campaign.

The report in AS added that one way for Real to navigate the rules is to send striker Rodrygo to the reserve side Castilla, who play in Spain’s third division.

It would be a humiliation for Rodrygo although he would still be allowed to play in the Champions League, which has no limits on players from outside the EU. 

Spain's limit of three non-EU players per squad also affects Atletico Madrid's Kieran Trippier

Spain’s limit of three non-EU players per squad also affects Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier