Real Madrid finally captured their tenth European title. Meanwhile, club president Florentino Perez seems to be reverting back to his old ways of signing big names over filling holes in the team. If Real Madrid acquire James Rodriguez, then it would be a fantastic transaction for the media and fans but it may negatively affect the team.
Ten years ago, legendary manager Arrigo Sacchi was appointed as technical director for Real Madrid, to help work on the galactico project but the former AC Milan boss wasn’t pleased with what he saw.
“There was no project. It was about exploiting qualities. So, for example, we knew that Zidane, Raul and Figo didn’t track back, so we had to put a guy in front of the back four who would defend. But that’s reactionary soccer. It doesn’t multiply the players’ qualities exponentially. Which actually is the point of tactics: to achieve this multiplying effect on the players’ abilities,” said the two-time European Cup winner.
Sacchi understands that real life isn’t like the FIFA or Football Manager video games in that the most talent on a team guarantees wins. It’s about balance and playing as a unit to defeat the opposition. Bringing in Rodriguez means effective players who filled voids like Angel Di Maria, Isco and Sami Khedira may have to leave to bring in the Golden Boot winner of the 2014 World Cup.
Real Madrid signing Toni Kroos was an excellent piece of business because Bayern Munich has undervalued the playmaker for too long and he can be the perfect replacement for Xabi Alonso because last year’s signing Asier Illarramendi has potential but he’s not ready to play at an elite level weekly yet. The team also seems to be close to signing Levante and Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas which would be a big boost to the club due to Iker Casillas being past his prime and Diego Lopez losing form as well.
James coming in would most likely be the symbol of Isco’s time in the Spanish capital coming to an end already after one year. The 22-year-old last year had eight goals and six assists in 32 appearances in La Liga compared to Rodriguez who had nine goals and 12 assists in 34 appearances for Monaco in Ligue 1. They play the same advanced role in the hole and in the same age group but Isco didn’t take the World Cup by storm like the 2013-14 Ligue 1 leader in assists.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti used the 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 to provide balance to his team and the pace of his attacking players made the side arguably the best counterattacking team in the world. Di Maria became a left midfielder to have a more central role while covering Cristiano Ronaldo’s lack of a defensive work rate and it helped exponentially as the Argentine raised him game to world class quality. Rumors are that Paris Saint-Germain want to take Di Maria on loan to get around UEFA’s financial fair play rule and then sign the 26-year-old next year. The Ligue 1 champions seem to be regretting overpaying for David Luiz already. Khedira is rumored to be a target of Arsenal but the Gunners are allegedly turned off by the German’s wage demands. Out of the three, Di Maria and Isco seemed the most likely to be moved and Di Maria will be missed for his playmaking ability, pace, versatility, work rate and constant willingness to sacrifice individual glory for team success.
James’ arrival would signify a return to Perez’s way of bringing in players who shine in World Cups. Ronaldo joined Madrid following his performance for Brazil in 2002, and Fabio Cannavaro did it in 2006. The difference is both men’s countries won the biggest tournament in the sport but they did not help win the Champions League for Los Blancos. Madrid hopes the 23-year-old can do the opposite and help bring another Champions League trophy soon while becoming a transcendent player in his generation.