Tag: Real Madrid

Make Money, Spend Money

Make money, spend money. This is the philosophy of many of the top clubs in the world. Each will spend ludicrous amounts of money to buy the “best” players and create a super club. Thank Real Madrid for the Galacticos club mentality and thank business tycoons and minted mobsters for the incredible influx of money in all of the top leagues. With this money comes expectation of revenue and winning. As much as I would like to sit here and say winning is most important, I’m fairly confident that if Man City finished 4th in the league and made it to the knock-out round in the Champions League, and merchandise flew off the shelves to the tune of $500 million and the TV deals continued to break records, it would not matter that the club underachieved and won nothing. It’s an interesting time in World Football and who knows if there is a bubble to burst. Check out this graphic below  (Deloitte) and enjoy some stats:

Money in world soccer.jpg

Advertisements

Is Zidane Already on his way out?

Take a look at this graph below:

zidane

If there is one thing that is certain, success does not necessarily guarantee an extended stay at the Bernabeu. Rafael Benitez lasted 25 games at the helm, winning 68% of them. If you had the same, ludicrous, managerial policy as Real Madrid, every single Premier League manager with over 100 games coached would be out. Sir Alex Ferguson’s win percentage was 65%, Arsene Wenger is hovering around 58%. The bottom line is, in a game where the line between winning and losing continually gets smaller, it has increasingly become more difficult to win everything all the time. Parity is a good thing for the leagues but is a disaster for some owners to understand. Zidane is one of the best players and possibly the best midfielder of all-time. This will not hide him from Florentino Perez’s policies. If history is any indication, Zidane should already be looking for his next gig.

zidane manager.jpg

Throwback Thursday – Ronaldo

Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima aka Ronaldo aka Fat Ronaldo is arguably one of the greatest players of all-time. Not one to shy away from the media and the flashy, Ronaldo is known for the elegant & explosive playing style, as well as his shoes and hairstyles. Known as the “phenomenon,” he won Fifa World Player of the Year three times, the Ballon d’Or twice, two World Cup titles and numerous domestic championships.

fat ronaldo
Questionable Hair Styles but Undoubtable Talent

 

One of the best dribblers of all-time, Ronaldo was known for his mazy runs and acrobatic finishes. He is the second leading goal scored in Brazilian National Team history and held the World Cup all-time scoring record with 15 goals his four trips to the tournament. (German, Miroslav Klose, recently broke this record) If you have 15 minutes to witness some majestic brilliance, check out the video below:

Let’s run down some stats on this prolific goalscorer:

Cruzeiro: 14 appearances – 12 goals

PSV: 46 appearances –  42 goals

Barcelona: 37 appearances – 37 goals

Inter Milan: 68 appearances – 49 goals

Real Madrid: 127 appearances – 83 goals

AC Milan: 20 appearances – 9 goals

Corinthians: 31 appearances – 18 goals

It is safe to say that in whichever country Ronaldo played in he scored goals. His completeness was always something admired by other attackers as Zlatan Ibrahimovic says, “”The best opponent of my career? Ronaldo, Il Fenomeno. Why? Because he was my idol and because, as a football player, he was complete. There will never, in my view, be a better player than him.” He was also feared by defenders as legendary Milan defender, Allesandro Nesta states here, “Ronaldo is the hardest attacker I’ve ever had to face. He was impossible to stop.” Even Messi had something to say about the mercurial Brazilian. “He was the best striker I’ve ever seen.”

Ronaldo was not without his fair share of controversy. He was a bit of a partier and on occasion, he found himself in less than desirable romantic situations. This includes the most public of his misgivings, a scandal involving three transvestite prostitutes which he met in 2008. This occurred while he was engaged to the future mother of this children, Maria Beatriz Antony.

ronaldo with gf
Ronaldo with Maria

The first their third child together would be born later on in that year and the couple continues to live together in Sao Paulo.

Currently, Ronaldo co-owns the sports marketing company 9INE with mixed martial artist Anderson Silva. He recently became part owner of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League and was rumored to want to attempt a comeback by playing with the side. With stints at PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and AC Milan, it is tough to put anything beyond the 38-year-old wonder-striker (including a shock comeback) and that is why he is this week’s Throwback Thursday player of the week.

ronalod barcelona

 

Real Madrid Release New Champions League Jerseys Which Khaleesi Would Be Proud Of

These may look cool. They may not. To be honest I’m still trying to figure out why there are dragons on it. I guess Khaleesi has taken over Madrid with her dragons. Next stop Kings Landing?

Is Real Madrid’s Galacticos Strategy Outdated?

Real Madrid have built their reputation on fielding teams filled with “Galacticos.” Throughout soccer history every great player in their prime is linked, and maybe signed, by Real Madrid at some point in their careers. This reputation stems from the reign of Francisco Franco who was an avid Real Madrid fan and poured money into the club so they could field the best players from around the world. Players like Alfredo Di Stefano, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, and now Cristiano Ronaldo have graced the grounds of the Bernabeu and been a part of some of the greatest teams this world has seen. It is no surprise that the strategy of garnering the world’s greatest players can lead to a great team. This is why so many current teams that are rich with oil baron money are willing to spend massive amounts of money to get the best players for their team. It is simple math, great players equal a great team and a great team equals glory. However, at a certain point when does this strategy become too much? When does the desire for the best players obfuscate the more important need for the best team?

There’s a reason young children like shiny new things, because they are eye-catching and foreign to them. The problem with children and shiny new things is that once the child finds a newer shiny object the appeal of the old shiny object loses its luster. In this metaphor Real Madrid is the child and the shiny new objects are the breakout players around the world. Last year the shiny new object was Gareth Bale and this year it is James Rodriquez, the Colombian breakout star of the World Cup. James Rodriguez is undoubtedly a prodigious talent with a very high ceiling. Although he has very few years of top flight European experience, his showcase during the World Cup has proven that he is capable of being a very special player. It is no wonder that teams around the world wanted him. The odd thing is not that Real Madrid admired his talents, but that they were willing to pay a transfer fee upwards of £71m to get a player they do not really need. Real Madrid currently has a wealth of attacking talent to draw from. They don’t need James Rodriguez. By bringing him on, Real Madrid will most likely have to sell Isco and Angel Di Maria to fund the transfer due to Financial Fair Play rules. Angel Di Maria was a key reason why Argentina advanced as far as they did in the World Cup and was the MVP of the Champions League final and Isco is one of the most promising young talents that Real Madrid has on their roster. By getting a young attacking talent in James Rodriguez they are getting rid of one of their best players and a young star with a high ceiling. These losses coupled with the potential loss of the more defensively minded Sami Khedira will more likely weaken Real Madrid rather than strengthen it. It could turn out that Real Madrid was better off refraining from the shiny new object and focusing on strengthening the weaker parts of their squad.

Continue reading “Is Real Madrid’s Galacticos Strategy Outdated?”

Gervinho Began the Summer’s Domino Effect

Transfer deadline day has come and gone and unless you are an Real Madrid, Tottenham, or Arsenal fan, there’s not too much to really comment on.  Liverpool made a couple small splashes by bringing in Victor Moses on loan and grabbing Sakho from PSG.  Felliani became Manchester United’s sloppy seconds when first choice midfielder, Herrera, ended up falling through as well as a last minute bid for Khedira.  Everton were able to reinvest some of the Felliani money and buy James McCarthy while taking Lukaku and Gareth Barry on loan.  A few lower level deals and a few more loan moves rounded out the Premier League action aside from two players – Gareth Bale and Mesut Ozil.

Tottenham

The transfer of Bale to Madrid had been known for some time now since Tottenham were spending cash like Pacman Jones in a strip club (sorry for the American Football reference).  It was well documented that prior to the North London Derby on Sunday, Arsenal had spent a total of £0.00 and Tottenham had spent £100m.  Even with the ridiculous cash outlay, Tottenham was unable to withstand Arsenal’s determination and seemed to lack the cohesiveness (and rightfully so) of a team who had not played many games together.

Now that the Bale saga is over for Spurs, they can finally focus on what they have brought in and not what they were sending out (similar to the Arsenal/Van Persie situation last year).  Arsenal had brought in Giroud and Podolski and seemed to lack the understanding of each other until the second half of the season.  Will it take that long for the likes of Lamela, Soldado, and Paulinho to gel?  Spurs fans are hoping not, but it is a troubling sign thus far that their only two goals have come by the way of penalties and have yet to score in open play over the first three matches, despite winning two of them.  They seemed to lack the offensive spark that Bale had provided for them the last few seasons.  Once again, very similar to Arsenal last season following the departure of Van Persie.  So all is not lost as the season is still young for the new-look Spurs squad.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid broke their own transfer record by combining the previous record holder, Ronaldo, with the current record holder, Bale.  All I have to say is I pity the fullbacks of the opposition.  Good luck trying to keep up with Ronaldo AND Bale attacking from both sides.  Was Bale’s 21 Premier League goals from a season ago worth £85m?  What we do know is that his talent and potential is very real.  Bale should find it easier in La Liga to breakdown defenses like he did so well with in the Premier League.

However, with spending so much money on one player (as well as several other players brought in), it was necessary for Madrid to 1. make room for Bale and 2. recoup some of the transfer fee that they so willingly threw at Spurs.  With an already crowded midfield, Madrid had a tough choice to make as to which midfielder to send out.  They had to choose between Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Modric, Ozil, Di Maria and of course, Ronaldo.  They offloaded Kaka’s high wages to AC Milan and it seemed like at least one more player had to leave the obviously congested midfield upon Bale’s arrival – enter Arsenal.

Arsenal

Welcome aboard: New Arsenal team-mates Lukas Podolski (left) and Mesut Ozil (right) pose with a club shirt

Arsene Wenger had been feeling the heat.  By the end of the transfer window, he started lashing back at the media with his little quips.  Aside from what most Arsenal fans though, he actually did have a plan, even if it did take until the last hour of the transfer window to announce it.  Early in the window, Arsene brought in a young, albeit unproven, striker in Yaya Sanogo and then recently brought back Flamini, neither costing a penny in transfer fees.  Arsenal fans had seen it before and figured that was the last of Arsene’s signings.  However, once the Bale deal went through, Arsene pounced at the opportunity to buy one of Madrid’s world class midfielders, which now seemed like his plan all along.  Was Arsene really talking to Madrid about Higuain early in the window, or trying to sure up a deal for Ozil as early as July?

Despite the obvious excitement for Ozil, Arsene still left some holes in the squad.  With Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski out for months, the attacking options come down to Giroud and an unproven Sanogo.  Obviously, Arsene shows tremendous confidence in Giroud and he has produced a goal in 4 of Arsenal’s 5 match so far this season, but it is still a risky proposition to only have one viable striking option.  Theo Walcott has played there in a pinch before, but is much better with his speed out wide.  Could Bendtner actually be an option for Arsene?  The defense is also thin with Vermaelen out for some time.  Gibbs and Sagna have missed significant time the last couple of seasons.  That leaves Nacho, Mertesacker, and Koscielny, hardly a deep group.  Arsene is taking a gamble that his current squad, with the addition of Ozil, will hold up until depth and possibly a top striker could come in January to get a push for some actual trophies – not just finishing top 4.

Gervinho

So how does Gervinho fit into all of this?  Let me spell it out:

1) Roma buys Gervinho from Arsenal making Lamela expendable

2) Tottenham buys Lamela to send out Bale

3) Madrid buys Bale making Ozil expendable

4) Arsenal buys Ozil

In Summary, Arsenal swapped Gervinho + £35m for Ozil – superb business.  In addition, Spurs not only lost their best player and playmaker, they allowed Arsenal the ability to purchase one of the world’s most creative players.

Probably not what Tottenham had in mind when they decided to cash in on Bale.