More changes at the Bernabeu
(Note: I had originally written that Emerson had moved to Inter Milan, thanks to Mr. Bobby McMahon of Fox Soccer Channel for pointing out my mistake. Emerson had been rumoured to be moving to Inter but ended up with rivals AC instead. My apologies for the mistake.)
Not content with the signings they’ve already made, Real Madrid have splashed out on two more big-name signings, while shipping two players off to Serie A clubs. Madrid reached an agreement for the transfer of Cicero Joao de Cezare (referred to as “Cicinho”) to AS Roma and have moved Emerson to defending Champions League winners AC Milan. Emerson joined Real Madrid from Juventus for an estimated fee of 16 million euros (approx. $21.56 million US) just last summer and it has not been reported how much of that fee they have recouped. Cicinho joins Roma for a reported fee of up to 11 million euros. Michel Salgado and Sergio Ramos have been used on the right during most of Real’s pre-season to date, and Cicinho asked for a move to another club in order to get a chance at first-team football.
Emerson’s signing was made by former coach Fabio Capello who had worked with the holding midfielder during his time at both AS Roma and Juventus. However, the notoriously hard-to-please Real Madrid fans quickly got on the player’s back after a shaky start to the season and he struggled to settle at the Spanish giants. He was also viewed as part of the reason that Madrid did not play the eye-catching football that is expected of the club. Emerson is by no stretch of the imagination a “flair” player.
Adding to the flair quotient of the Madrid side will be Arjen Robben. Chelsea and Madrid finally agreed a fee for the Holland winger which is thought to be close to 30 million euros. Robben was targeted as a signing by Madrid president Ramon Calderon during his election campaign last summer and speculation heightened when Chelsea’s attempts to persuade Robben to sign a new long-term deal collapsed during the summer break. Madrid winced at the prospect of meeting Chelsea’s asking price but pre-season setbacks (including being beaten 5-3 by Sevilla en route to a 6-3 aggregate defeat in the Spanish Super Cup) increased the pressure on Calderon to make further changes at the club.
The other player to join, much to Liverpool’s dismay, is Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze. Henize had wanted a move away from Old Trafford as he was no longer first-choice at left-back and had proven ineffective as a centre-back with the Red Devils. The fee for Heinze was at least 10 millions Euros, the amount of the infamous escape clause in Heinze’s contract, which Liverpool were willing to pay. United, rightly so, were unwilling to sell to a league rival and refused to approve the deal. Heinze gives Real an experienced left-back and he is likely to start ahead of Marcelo Veira. The purchases of Robben and Heinze take Madrid’s spending in the offseason to around 120 million euros (US$162 million), though that does not include money recouped on the sales of other players.