Barcelona have come off the back of a transfer ban with little to no ill effects and now it's the turn of the Madrid clubs to see if they can do likewise. Both Real and Atletico have been hot with a transfer ban following 'breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18'.
It's an extremely similar case to the one which saw Barcelona banned from signing new players during the summer transfer window and it now means that, starting after the end of the January window, neither Madrid club will be allowed to register players during the next two transfer windows, which effectively means that during the summer of 2016 and the winter of 2017, they are unable to sign new players.
According to FIFA;
The two clubs were found to have violated several provisions concerning the international transfer and first registration of minor players as well as other relevant provisions with regard to the registration and participation of certain players in competitions.
Aside from the transfer ban, Atletico have been fined over €800,000 while Real have been fined over €300,000. They also have '90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned'.
FIFA have further clarified the situation by confirming that the transgressions of both clubs took place over extended periods of time.
The investigations concerned minor players who were involved and participated in competitions with the clubs over various periods between 2007 and 2014 (Atlético de Madrid) and between 2005 and 2014 (Real Madrid).
After having their ban suspended, Barcelona managed to sign the likes of Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic in the summer of 2014. That meant that when the ban did take effect, the club were able to get through 2015 without refreshing the squad. The ban came to an end in the past month and they were subsequently able to register Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal.
Whether a similar stay of execution will be available to Real and Atletico is unclear. The timing of the announcement may mean that this is the only chance they will get to sign players for the foreseeable future. And what that means for the likes of David De Gea is anyone's guess. The ban could see Real rushing out with a chequebook to sign anyone they feel they need to make a success of Zinedine Zidane's tenure.
However, with the January window notoriously difficult to do business in, that may be easier said than done.