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Monday, September 21, 2009

Real Madrid: A Work in Progress

            A month into the 2009-10 campaign, Europe’s most anticipated team is fulfilling exactly what it promised: winning games and tallying boatloads of goals. 

            We’re talking about Real Madrid, of course.  Four games into their season, this summer’s big-spenders are undefeated, averaging an absurd four goals per game.  Impressive.

            But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.   The Spanish giants have been scoring like bros at a frat party, while featuring a squad that quite honestly may rival FIFA 2009’s World XI. But reading score lines does not equate to watching play—And that is where Madrid’s scoreboard dominance becomes deceiving.

            In observing the inaugural month of Los Galacticos II, what cannot be looked past is that the Real Madrid squad do not look fluid.  Their play is tainted by static motion and a lack of structure, and most notably does in fact resemble that of a World XI—no chemistry.  Nor have Madrid established a consistent line-up.  Depth is crucial, but rotations can be disruptive and must not be overused.

            These struggles are largely attributed to the arrival of new personnel at the Bernabéu this year.  Newcomers Kaka and Karim Benzema are finding only limited involvement on the field and have been disappearing for long stretches of play.  (Christiano Ronaldo, however, is thriving, but he is an alien, i.e. his chest is made of body armor.)

            Madrid’s new look, though, has taken its toll on the entire squad, and right now it seems as if everyone is in transition mode.  The club has promised to build their renovation around their prized imports—and rightly so—but Bernabéu regulars are now finding difficulty in adjusting to their new roles within the team.  Featuring a creative, free-roaming attack, Manuel Pelegrini needs his squad to be structurally strong behind the ball—defensive roles Gago and Lass Diarra are struggling to stick with.  Club captain Raul also seems lost amongst his offensive unit, straying from his traditional role up top to foreign parts of the pitch.

            Okay, so already Los Galacticos is a repeat failure, right?  Not quite.  In fact, things couldn’t look better for Real Madrid.

            Building a team is no easy task.  It takes time.  But the fact that the new-look Madrid are thrashing opponents right off the bat with no team chemistry is unbelievable. It’s scary to think what they could achieve once they establish some familiarity on the pitch.

            It’s true, yes, Real Madrid have not been tested by the strongest of opposition, but there is this sense of power, this sense of the will-to-dominate when their army takes action on the field.  Quite honestly, this army looks poised to handle anything that comes its way.

            Good teams win games—no matter how the task is done.  The best teams, though, win with a process, a script currently being written in Madrid.  Real Madrid have their pieces.  I can’t wait to see what the puzzle looks like.


  1. This article featured some of the best similies I've ever read in a sports article-- well done.

    On to Madrid: I have not been impressed by the play of Xabi Alonso thus far. In the few games he's been in I don't think he's made nearly as much as of an impact as I expected him to. So far, he is the biggest disappointment. Kaka' has, in my opinion, been quietly but beautifully orchestrating play; I think that the criticism being aimed at him for not having scored yet is unjust and impatient.

    I said it before, and I'll say it again: Esteban Granero is the future of Real Madrid. "El Pirata" has been sublime in his touch, passing, and even finishing whenever he's been on. I'd say he's even giving Xabi Alonso a run for his money for the starting mid position (assuming Guti is out of the picture... but I just hate Guti as it is).

    And finally, Raúl, Raúl, Raúl. What to do with the "eterno capitán?" Sure, he's scored and such, but with Higuaín in the ranks, why would you start Raúl?

    My Ideal lineup (4-2-3-1): Casillas, Arbeloa, Pepe, R. Albiól, S. Ramos, Lass, Xabi Alonso, C. Ronaldo, Kaka', Granero, Benzema.

  2. Thanks for the compliments. I appreciate it. So, I'm not that big of a Madrid fan, but I can't get over their squad. I've written about your boys more than any other team on this site, but I can't help it.

    I'm not knocking Kaka, but rather suggesting that he is not getting his deserved touches. I don't care if he never scores with his new club. He rivals Messi as the best playmaker in the world, so he needs to see the ball more.

    And I absolutely forgot about Xabi Alsonso. That's how ridiculous this team is dude. I just didn't even think about including Alonso in the article--absurd.

    And yes, Granero has the best nickname in all of sports.

    Don't knock on Guti. Dude's got a sweet haircut, c'mon.

  3. I wasn't trying to say that you were knocking on Kaka', it's just that recently the Spanish media has, as always, been a bit hasty in their criticism. Nothing to do with you, just the over-eager, over-accusatory media.

    And Guti... no. I can't stand Guti. He takes way too long on the ball and he barely even runs. It's quite frustrating to observe.

  4. Haha i know, i know.

    You're my most dedicated correspondent, man. Maybe even the only one these days, haha. So when do you think Forster is gonna grow the balls to post more of his typical preposterous, inaccurate comments?

  5. Hahahahaha I don't know... I think I'll tell him to unleash his fury one of these days haha