The signing of Argentinian defender Walter Smauel signals a shift in Real Madrid’s recruitment policy, the club’s sporting director Jorge Valdano, has acknowledged.

After ending the season empty-handed, Valdano admitted that the club had ditched their recent policy of only signing “galacticos”.

Samuel, 26, joins from Roma in a deal believed to be worth £15m.

“Real Madrid and Samuel have reached an agreement in relation to the player’s tranfer that will come into effect as of 1 July,” said Real’s website.

“The player has agreed to sign a contract with Real for five seasons.”

Samuel is the first player Real have signed since president Florentino Perez vowed earlier in the week to “bring optimism back to supporters”.

“He brings quality and maturity which will help our young players feel more comfortable and play better,” Valdano told the club’s website.

“He fills an important need the team had and does so in style because he is one of the best defenders in the world.”

“From now on we are now going to construct a more balanced team,” he said. “We’ll have a stronger, broader squad which will allow us to cope with all the competitions in which we are involved.”