Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been banned from registering players for the next two transfer windows by FIFA for breaching rules over the transfer of minors.
FIFA also fined Atletico £622,000 while Real were told to pay £249,000. The ruling could have a significant impact on Real’s pursuit of David de Gea and, likewise, Manchester United’s rumoured interest in Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Real would not be allowed to register a player over the July/August 2016 window as well as January 2017.
However, they are free to sign players for the remainder of the current window, which runs until the end of the month.
It is likely that both Real and Atletico will appeal against the decision but the initial ruling will give hope to Man United that they can keep De Gea.
The Spanish keeper was close to joining Real in the summer but the move collapsed due to late paperwork. There were rumours that Real would revive their interest next summer but the ban would put an end to that.
Meanwhile, it is unlikely that Real will be willing to let go of either Bale or Ronaldo if they are not able to secure a replacement. Barcelona were handed a similar ban in 2014 but that did not stop them signing Arda Turan or Aleix Vidal, although both players were prevented from playing until the current window opened.