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.
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.[separator type=”thin”]
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