After it was confirmed that Dutch international Ruud Van Nistelrooy would be out for the remainder of the season, the Madrid brass began Operation RVN (Replace Van Nistelrooy).
It would not be easy to find a player that would fill the shoes of one of the top goalscorers in the world the past decade, but it seems like they have just found their short-term solution in Italy. Argentine international Hernán Crespo could be the one that makes this happen mostly due to his own situation at Inter. Crespo is also the man at the top of Madrid’s list.
Crespo, 33, would be the only top-level goalscorer that could satisfy Real Madrid’s pretensions for a league and European double. He is at the bottom of the totem pole at the neroazzurro as Jose Mourinho considers players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mario Balotelli, Julio Cruz, and Adriano before the former Lazio and Chelsea man. Crespo is not cup-tied. He is not part of Mourinho’s list for the UEFA Champions League which would make him eligible to play for Madrid come February during the knockout stage.
Signed, sealed, delivered? Not quite.
Crespo’s contract with Inter expires at the end of this season and he would want whatever team is interested in him to give him more than a six-month stint. He wants to get at least a year from Madrid. On the other hand, the Merengues are only looking for a short-term fix. They are not looking to invest their future on a 33-year old striker. Their long-term interests lie in players like Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Franck Ribéry. They are also looking at the possibility of Bastian Schweinsteiger or Mario Gomez (currently injured) despite the thumbs down given by Bernd Schuster.
Crespo wants the playing stability because he wants Diego Maradona to consider him for the Argentine national team side. To play for a team like Madrid will give him the forum where he can showcase himself to El Diego and he can make one last push on Batistuta’s record.
For Crespo this could be his last opportunity to showcase himself on a European stage. There have been talks about an eventual return to Argentina to end his career kind of in the mold of a Juan Sebastián Verón or a Kily González. That option will be much tougher for Crespo if his intentions are to wear the Albiceleste yet once more. There are various options that Maradona has at this stage that he would go to before Crespo- Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Carlos Tevez (albeit he is on the bench), Germán Denis, Diego Milito, Gonzalo Higuaín, and maybe even a Mariano Pavone. These are options Diego has even if Crespo plays. Once he arrives in Madrid, he is not guaranteed playing time. He would have to get into game shape in a hurry in order to carve out some time from the iconic Raúl or the white-hot Higuaín.
Would it be a great move? Short-term, absolutely. Crespo changes things. He makes things happen. He is the typical goalscorer. He can be inauspicious for 89 minutes and he touches the ball once and it’s in the back of the net.
In the end we will most likely see Crespo wearing white, but it will be in a way to satisfy both sides’ “selfish intentions”- Madrid’s title bids and Crespo’s hopes for self and country.