Real Madrid could have signed Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Giovani Dos Santos had they paid attention to the youth set-up during the Galacticos era.
The club's technical secretary, Miguel Angel Portugal, has revealed that he was given the chance to sign the trio of stars, but had no money available.
Under Florentino Perez, Madrid became geared towards the star names in the first team and the youth academy was virtually forgotten, resulting in several big names slipping through their fingers.
"When Giovani (Dos Santos) was 14-years-old, we had the chance to sign him. The same with Messi. I could have had Cristiano Ronaldo too," Portugal revealed.
"It was a shame, but at the time the youth system had no finances to sign players.
"There was a time when the club did not do what was needed for those players.
"That was during the Galacticos period, when it was more important to sign the big-name players over youngsters."
Portugal is confident that the new coach, Bernd Schuster is heading in the right direction and has been impressed with the new man's summer acquisitions.
"Schuster has done well in the transfer market," he added. "He has brought in players that will determine Madrid's style for the next three, four or five years."