Jul 24, 2015

Florentino Perez’s unsustainable plan

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Imagine if Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Hades, Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hermes, Dionysus, Demeter and Ares all occupied the same hall at precisely the same moment, it would be awe inspiring but ultimately chaotic experience. At times it seems that Real Madrid’s stockpiling of genuine world stars in both name and brand recognition is an attempt to create a hall of gods.

The wisdom behind having a Denis Irwin to every Eric Cantona and a Christian Chivu to every Samuel Eto’o is a semblance of normalcy both in the dressing room and on the field and the two foremost football minds of the past decade recognized that simple narrative.

Real Madrid as a team don’t need too many stitches to become a world class three piece suit, that is like adding a Brooks brothers suit on top of a Michael Kors suit, just because of a superior label. Generally, the rule of the thumb is, what Real Madrid wants, Real Madrid gets but like an obese baby who needs greens more than the candy floss being stuffed down it’s throat by a willing parent[Perez] because the baby in the next aisle is getting[read Barcelona].

Of the four teams to reach the semi finals last summer Real Madrid had the most unnecessary transfer window of all of them, double winners the previous season, their shiny runaway train only needed a chassis tweak but they went ahead and ripped the purring engine out to gorge a monstrous rasping in its place. Xabi Alonso the orchestra master was moved on and the Alto of the either high based or markedly soprano choir Angel Di Maria unceremoniously dumped out of Madrid. The first few months the transfers seemed validated as a jaw dropping twenty two wins on the spin were put together without the Los Blancos getting out of first gear, then things went badly awry and the rest is open history.

Xabi Alonso was allowed to leave Real Madrid last summer despite being instrumental in the club winning ‘La Decima’

Barcelona added Ivan Rakitic for a paltry eighteen million Euros, pocket change for Madrid, arguably Ivan would have made Real Madrid champions with his box to box bag of tricks. When Luka Modric succumbed to injury and Toni Kroos went off the boil by his usually high standards stop gaps like Isco and James Rodriguez had to be used in central midfield making Madrid lightweight and highly susceptible to conceding during quick transitions. With Sami Khedira ostracized, the bundle of immutable energy that is Casemiro away on an inexplicable loan and new earthling Lucas Silva not trusted, Madrid capitulated in a most un-European champions manner. So is the transfer committee [Perez and Perez alter egos] to blame? Not necessarily, it’s the methodology behind it that is flawed.

Alongside Di Maria and Alonso, Denis Cheryshev who went ahead to light up the league with Villarreal apparently unfancied due to his low and peasant like status would have plugged any gaps and performed a Di Maria like role freeing up Cristiano Ronaldo to wreak havoc in the final third. Alvaro Morata, a La Fabrica graduate and Madrid’s tormentor in chief dumped them out of Europe and showed that with a hand on the shoulder he would have saved Madrid a ton of money when they seek a shiny new toy in a few years when Karim Benzema’s stock has fallen. Morata was let go albeit via a buy back clause in his contract suggesting he will return to Madrid in the futue. Toni Kroos’ signing was a master stroke executed relatively cheaply and with minimum fuss. That is the direction the club could embrace but they choose the most expensive way to flex their well toned financial muscle, in a way that might be financially applicable but not sportingly sustainable.

The Galactico transfer model if repeated over a certain course of time puts the manager between a rock and a hard place. Only eleven players can step onto the field and this means a couple of egos are bruised weekly, the bile that creates cannot be useful for the dressing room. When John O’shea was benched or dropped altogether you get the sense that he was disappointed but never raised any ruckus because he knows the pecking order and when called upon he did an excellent job and stayed positive fostering a united dressing room. Every few months there are reports of a divide in the dressing room at Valdebebas, too many alpha males in the pack, naturally the fight for dominance will be bloody.

A whole lot of lesser names but comparable sporting pedigree to the Galacticos Madrid so crave exist if they tried hard enough. Both methods might lead to sporting excellence and glory but one path of actually incorporating earthlings among the stars is the more sustainable and is more bunnies and daffodils in the orchid than the crowd pleasing, gory gladiator blood bath that Florentino Perez so desires.

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When I reincarnate I want to come back as a cross breed of a Mateo Kovacic pass and an Andres Iniesta-David Silva love child.

Comments to Florentino Perez’s unsustainable plan

  • You don’t understand us because you’re too soft!!!!!!

    FRED FRED July 25, 2015 9:05 am
  • I like your writing style but there is a lot wrong in this article.

    1. Alonso was allowed to leave because he made a specific request to the president and because he had done so much for the club, Florentino decided to facilitate the request. But beyond that, you’ve attached to much significance to his role in the 2013-14 Champions League campaign. Alonso had been on the decline for sometime and on more than one occasion he struggled against opponents

    2. Di Maria was not unceremoniously dumped out of the club. He left because he wanted a raise. Less than a year after his contract had already been revised. Even at that, his net wages were higher than the likes of Khedira and Marcelo and only about €1M per season less than Benzema, Pepe, and Modric.

    3. Cheryshev as well as Casemiro were sent off on loan because previously their experience was limited to playing for RM Castilla in Segunda B. It’s a big jump from the third division of Spanish football to the Champions League. Both needed to prove themselves and they did. Which is why they are both likely to be in the 2015-16 squad.

    4. Morata left because he had a bad relationship with Ancelotti. It had nothing to do with Florentino or his “Galactico” policy.

    5. You suggest there is no Irwin or O’Shea in the squad but what about Nacho? What about Arbeloa? Isco keeps a low profile even when he was playing great and still not making the XI. Varane is an elite talent but he didn’t complain when Pepe was picked ahead of him. Illarramendi is a humble guy. Chicharito was happy to play his role as (not so) super sub. There are some big names obviously but it’s not as though every player in the squad is an egomaniac. As far as I know, there’s nobody in the RM squad who has a clause in their contract stipulating a bonus to paid IF they play in the position assigned to them by the manager. But Neymar does.

    It’s easy (and frankly, a bit cliche) too blame last season’s debacle on Florentino and his transfer policy. But if you dig a little deeper, you will find several important reasons why Real Madrid failed to win a title last year.

    1. Injuries to James Rodriguez, Luka Modric, and Sergio Ramos – These are key players! James is an unbelievable player. Not unlike this article, plenty of people argued that Florentino was selling the ugly player with substance to bring in a pretty face who would sell more RM t-shirts. In 2013-14 Di Maria recorded 4 goals and 17 assists in 34 matches. In 2014-15 James scored 13 and provided 12 assists in 5 fewer appearances. During his absence, Real Madrid dropped 11 points. Ramos is the lynch pin of the back line. Neither Pepe nor Varane command and organize the defense like Ramos. His injury coincided with that of James. Sergio Ramos was absent as Real Madrid lost away to Atletico and Athletic and drew at home against Villarreal. He had only just returned with Real Madrid lost in the Camp Nou. Additionally, he played with injury and not fully fit in the CL semi finals against Juventus. Modric is the guy that keeps the ball moving. He doesn’t show up in the stats but he makes RM play. Isco did a great job in his absence but he’s still young and learning. Modric has a savvy about him. And I guarantee if you took Iniesta, Busquets, and Pique out of Barcelona for three months last year, they wouldn’t have won the treble either.

    2. Goalkeeping – Casillas is a legend of the club but his performances have been on the decline for a while. The ideal situation would have seen him bow out after lifting “La Decima” but he is a great competitor and confident in himself and felt capable of carrying on. But he just did not intervene as he did in the past. Keylor Navas who had a good year at Levante and an even better World Cup proved himself to be thoroughly unreliable and unable to displace Casillas in spite of Casillas’ mediocre performances. This is why RM have purchased Kiko Casilla and will still likely add David De Gea before this transfer window closes.

    3. Gareth Bale – Bale was not in good form for much of last year. His production was down slightly (11 goals, 9 assists in 2013-14 compared to 15 goals, 13 assists the year before) but it was more the timing of the goals. Bale scored big goals in his first year at the club. Match winners. Title winners. Bartra is still trying to catch up to Bale’s run in the final of the Copa del Rey two years ago! For whatever reason (a lot of people suggest he didn’t like playing on the right as Ancelotti was asking him to do, others suggest his fitness had dropped) he did not have the same spark from the previous year and he was almost completely invisible in the big moments.

    As you rightly point out, things were going along nice and smoothly through December of last year. Real Madrid had played Barcelona off the pitch at the Bernabeu, lifted the Intercontinental Cup, and were well placed in all three competitions themselves. But injuries happen, lack of form happens, bad luck happens. But of course it’s more dramatic reading if people think that there is a lunatic running the transfers, changing room feuds, and players being run out of the club on a whim.

    jaimitoelcrack July 29, 2015 4:34 pm