Year after year, Real Madrid never fail to look for the next big thing, splash the cash, and continue to build a team of superstars. However, we could be witnessing the climax of this era, and the fact that Real, along with fellow Madrid club Atletico, have both been handed transfer bans, it is looking increasingly likely that we could be seeing the death of the “Galacticos”. But that would only be the straw that broke the camel’s back…
Florentino Perez (president of Real) wants Real Madrid to be an icon. He wants the biggest names. He wants the next big thing. Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, James, to name a few. But although the “Galacticos” approach can be successful to a certain degree, it is neither sustainable nor easy to convert into a complete starting 11. As Rafa Benitez found this season.
The 4-0 crushing at the hands of Barcelona summed up just how badly the idea can work. Rafa took the job because it was the Real Madrid job, who wouldn’t? But if you’re a manager with a certain philosophy being forced to play players who don’t necessarily fit the system purely because of their huge price tag, it is unlikely to work, hence the crushing defeat. How was Benitez meant to play a team “the Benitez way” when he must start Isco, Ronaldo, Bale, James, Benzema, Kroos, Modric and more? It’s a recipe for disaster. But, on the other hand, not playing them would make them a waste of money. And, in most cases with Real, a lot of money. Benitez had no choice but to start their £30 million right back Danilo because they paid so much for him. But what if Benitez’s preferred, and more successful system, involved a right back who played differently to Danilo’s style, but didn’t cost as much money, for example?
Managers need to have control over transfers in order to play the way they want to. You can’t chuck the most sought after wingers in a team with a system that plays wing-backs instead. Instead of buying wingers, you buy wing-backs, don’t you? If only poor old Florentino could understand.
Real went trophy-less last season without Angel Di Maria. The season before, they won the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League with Di Maria, and the Argentinian was arguably Real’s best player that season. But instead of keeping one of the most important players in the team, Perez saw how much worldwide attention James Rodriguez was getting after his world cup performances. So, he bought James for a hefty price tag, leaving the squad with too many attacking players. Goodbye Di Maria. It seemed as if, despite his extraordinary talent, because Di Maria wasn’t a 21 year old recent £60 million signing, he was useless, and therefore surplus to requirements.
Now this season things are continuing to be going downhill, but with club legend Zinedine Zidane at the helm, you can’t help but wonder if he will be given more freedom in the transfer market. Another reason for the end of the “Galacticos” is the transfer ban of course, but that is only temporary. The most significant reason though, must inevitably be that Perez must finally realise that it just doesn’t work. Of course you can forgive him for keeping up with the idea as he watches his side destruct teams like Rayo Vallecano 10-2, or beat Malmo 8-0, because that’s what world class players do for you. But looking at last season, looking at the current league table, and looking at the fact that Rafa Benitez had to be sacked so early on in his rein, surely even Florentino must give it up.