The term “Galáctico“ has become a bad word in football since Real Madrid’s experiment of every year bringing in “superstars” failed.
Los Merengues went through chaos in that time period with too many coaches and too few trophies especially considering the talent they bought. The Galáctico time period from 2002-2006 saw Real Madrid become the richest club in football but it was also an era of bad personnel decisions.
The arrivals of Ronaldinho, David Beckham, and Andriy Shevchenko to the San Siro along with the presence of Kaka and Paolo Maldini have garnered comparisons to a new Galáctico era with the Galácticos moving east from Madrid. To Milanistas it is a bad analogy because of the turbulence & lack of success of Real’s Galácticos but Milan will make it work. There will be harmony and success for Il Rossoneri and here’s why:
1) Coaching Stability
Since Vicente Del Bosque’s regrettable firing in 2003, Los Merengues went through 5 coaches until the end of the Galáctico period in 2006 when Fabio Capello came in and re-established Real’s domestic championship form. In that same time period Milan has had one coach, Carlo Ancelotti. During the same time period Ancelotti led Milan to a Champions League trophy, Scudetto, and Italian & UEFA Super Cups.
The old adage that “Defense wins championships” is wrong. Balance wins championships you need both a strong offense and a strong defense. Real Madrid’s Galácticos had a strong offense but a weak defense. Real’s mistake was being stingy with Claude Makélélé and not paying him his worth to the team. Dismissing the old warrior Fernando Hierro was also a massive error. Compared to Milan, that have players like Gennaro Gattuso & Massimo Ambrosini in the midfield making it easier for Kaka & Ronaldinho to operate. Do not forget veteran defenders like Alessandro Nesta & Paolo Maldini who have won everything in club football and could almost play blindfolded. Its much easier for attacking midfielders to do their magic when Gattuso types are backing you up.
In the sporting world, there is no better motivation than coming back. The motivating power of proving that you can do something is what drives most professional athletes. Ronaldinho, Shevchenko, and even Beckham all have something to prove and need to redeem their status as greats by performing well at Milan.
Ronaldinho’s “fall” at Barcelona is well known. Since the ’06 UEFA Champions League Final he’s been more Ronald than Dinho. He should be fiercely motivated to return to the form that made him 2-time FIFA Player Of The Year and a Barca icon.
Shevchenko needs to make himself relevant again after his failed tenure at Chelsea and show the world he still the goal scoring monster he was before being lured to Stamford Bridge by Roman Abramovich.
Beckham is still a marketing cash machine but he has been disappointing since his move to the L.A. Galaxy. Becks has to prove again that he can play well in the highest levels of European football if he wants to continue to be considered for a spot on the English national team.
In comparison, by the time Zidane, Figo, and Ronaldo joined Real they had nothing to prove they were superstars at the height of their powers and at that time neither of those three had to crawl from depths as deep as Dinho, Sheva, and Becks.
How can any kind of leadership be established when you have 5 different coaches in a 4 year span. Carlo Ancelotti has the respect of Milan players cause he’s been there for what seems like forever and he is backed up 100% by the Milan board. From a player perspective, Who was the leader of Real Madrid’s Galácticos? Raúl, Zidane, Figo? Who knows. Raúl is an icon at Real Madrid but he is not a leader in the Real locker room like Rossoneri icon Paolo Maldini is in the Milan locker room.
Milan is more concerned about trophies than glamour. When you have a solid coaching situation, a real emphasis on defense, players with something to prove, and stable leadership from the top of an organization down to the pitch then a Galácticos team can win trophies and capture the imagination and cash of the footballing world. Milan’s Galácticos will succeed where Real’s Galácticos failed.