Thursday, April 26, 2018

Real Madrid needs a change of thinking for success

David Nugent in Editorial, La Liga 23 Nov 2015

Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez has came in for criticism this season, but Los Blancos' problems go far deeper than just their boss

Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez has came in for criticism this season, but Los Blancos’ problems go far deeper than just their boss

Real Madrid is one of Europe’s elite football clubs. The team from the Spanish capital always look like candidates to win the biggest trophies, but in truth in recent years they haven’t won many.

The clubs tenth European Cup victory in 2014, also known as ‘La Decima’, was their first since 2002.

Los Blancos has won just three La Liga titles in 12 years, as bitter-rivals Barcelona have gained a stranglehold of the Spanish top-flight. Saturday night’s 4-0 defeat at home against their perennial rivals has left people bemused in the Spanish capital.

In truth there is so much wrong with Real Madrid that it is difficult to know where to start with the wrongs.

Rafa the gaffer not to blame

The blame for the defeat seems to be being squarely laid at the feet of boss Rafa Benitez. That is wrong on so many levels. Looking from the outside in Benitez seemed like a strange choice for the job in the summer.

He is a Madridista himself, but in truth Benitez does not fit the whole glamorous profile that the Real Madrid hierarchy seem to be obsessed with for some reason.

Benitez had to make some tough choices ahead of El Clasico and in hindsight he could not really win when picking his team for the big match. The likes of Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema were not fully-fit, but the former-Liverpool boss had to pick them, because if he did not then he would have been criticised anyway.

He could not win either way and according to reports in Spain he could now leave the club as a result of the El Clasico debacle. There is something about the Spanish club that seems to be toxic.

They have had some of the best managers that modern football has ever seen in the likes of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, who have shone briefly before being hounded out of the Spanish capital.

If bosses like Mourinho and Ancelotti who are serial winners have problems keeping their job in Madrid what chance does Benitez have of keeping his?

Everything has to glimmer

Real Madrid’s transfer policy is based on the magpie technique of all that glitters must be gold. Real Madrid are obsessed with signing the biggest and best players, which in theory should work out well for them.

On paper having the best players money can buy should make a fantastic team, but unfortunately it has not worked out that well for them in recent years. The amount of money Los Blancos have spent over the last few decades on so called ‘Galacticos’ is ridiculous.

With that sort of money spent they should be dominating La Liga and the Champions League. Instead the club as a whole are standing around scratching their heads wondering what went wrong.

The truth is that it is not always Galacticos that win you football matches. In past transfer windows Real have sold the likes of Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria, who were both fantastic players for the team.

These players fitted-into the Real Madrid team perfectly, they were not high-profile, or glitzy but both were highly effective with goals and assists galore. However, despite being so effective they were sold because they were considered as players who did not fit into the ‘Galacticos’ category.

They were considered not aesthetically pleasing in either image or style of play. The two players have had varied amounts of success since leaving the Bernabeu, but at Real they were key players and helped Los Blancos to their most recent successes, yet were supposedly upgraded and that is Real Madrid’s problem.

They are obsessed with having the biggest and best individuals, but the biggest and best individuals do not always make the best team.

Every team needs water carriers, as Manchester United great Eric Cantona once coined. Every team needs underrated players who go unsung and get the job done without a fuss. At Real Madrid everybody is so concerned with image and being a star that they forget they are actually a part of a team.

Continue to struggle

Until Real Madrid has a hierarchy that understands that football is about winning silverware and not just the Real Madrid brand, then one of football’s most historical institutes will continue to struggle to win the big trophies.

Los Blancos are currently odds of 9/2 to claim the Spanish league crown this season. However I doubt many people will be rushing out to put that bet on after Saturday’s display.

There needs to be a change of philosophy at Real Madrid and that has to come from the very top of the club.

They may be one of the biggest brands in the world and also the one of the most historic clubs, but they seemed to have forgotten that football is a team game. They will continue to struggle to win the big silverware until this obsession with ‘Galaticos’ is no more.

What needs to change at Real Madrid for Los Blancos to be successful?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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