Real Madrid and City agreed a £13.5m basic fee for a player who has made just 14 appearances during his three seasons in Manchester. The total Los Merengues will pay is not disclosed but there will be bonuses payable over the course of the six-year deal.
Diaz will earn a salary of £3.25m per year and slots straight into the Real first-team squad. The Spaniard is the first player signed by the club during the January transfer window in four years. The last was Lucas Silva in 2015.
The Malaga-born midfielder made no secret of his wish to return home with the Real hierarchy believing he is a unique talent and worth the risk. Their misfiring squad beat Al-Ain 4 – 1 to lift the FIFA Club World Cup before Christmas yet finds themselves fourth in La Liga. Even winning their game in hand is no guarantee of rising any higher.
Diaz faces strong competition for a place in the XI but is a shift in Real’s emphasis. Having placed their eggs in the Galacticos and experienced pros basked, following that with reliance on Portuguese superstar Ronaldo. Now, the European and World champions are turning to youth and compiling an impressive roster of talent.
The question is now whether they can turn potential into reality.