Saturday, September 22, 2018

Real Madrid’s departures highlight a remarkable strength in depth

Crippy Cooke in Editorial, La Liga 29 Jul 2017


Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

Real Madrid’s transfer business over the last two seasons has been understated.

The Spanish giants are known for big-name purchases, but have hardly added outsiders to their squad in recent seasons, instead selling some of those who haven’t made the grade.

And the ones they’ve sold have made a lot of money which is testament to how strongly the squad had been built.

Real Madrid‘s success with a similar squad has hampered fringe players

In the last three years, Real Madrid have won the La Liga title, Champions League twice, Copa Del Rey, UEFA Super Cup twice and FIFA Club World Cup twice. They’ve retained much of the same side from 2014 which has made it difficult for certain signings to get game time.

When Real claimed La Decima in 2014, the squad contained Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Isco and Morata who would also go on to win a third Champions League title in four seasons in 2017.

Retaining so many players over the years has meant new ones struggle for starts, and Real have been forced to sell as they cannot guarantee game time, despite their tremendous quality. The likes of Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez, Jese and Danilo have left recently, making Real an eye-watering £102m.

Real’s cast-offs joining stellar European clubs proves they’re the best in the world

If winning three Champions League trophies in the last four seasons wasn’t proof enough that Real are the best side in the world, their unwanted stars lighting European giants is certainly the clincher.

This summer, Morata was sought after by both Chelsea and Manchester United, eventually signing for the former for £55m. Second-choice right-back Danilo joined Manchester City for £26m. James Rodriguez joined Barcelona on loan, with a £31m buying option.

For Real’s fringe players to join such big clubs shows how good the players atop of the pecking order have been in recent seasons, evident from the silverware amassed. Zinedine Zidane has so many players on the periphery who could join a top-20 side in Europe, and such outstanding depth will be key to keeping them at the top.

To have players like Lucas Vazquez who has been linked with Arsenal and AC Milan, Isco who has been linked with Liverpool, Marco Asensio who was linked with Arsenal and Liverpool, as well as Mateo Kovacic who has been linked with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Real’s squad is brimming with talent that most other sides could only dream of having.


Crippy Cooke

Crippy Cooke has somehow written for the Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London24 and Bleacher Report among others, despite knowing less about football than your average Fan TV member . The weekly accumulator enthusiast is saving up his winnings to pay for a much-needed hair transplant but grows more on his chin than his head. He lives and breathes football and somehow makes a living writing from it.



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