Real Madrid: 5 Things the Media Don't Seem to Get About Real
Real Madrid is one of the biggest, most successful and quite possibly best-supported football clubs on the entire planet.
Their fan base stretches across continents, their playing staff come from all areas of the globe and their success across more than a century knows no bounds.
As a result, they are the focus of media intervention every single day with questions, politics and suspicion providing a constant backdrop to the actual on-pitch battles that make the club what it is in the first place.
But do the media always get it right? A single viewpoint, perhaps taken out of context, influences the opinions of thousands of people at a single turn who perhaps don't even interact with the club on a week-to-week basis.
Here are five things the media don't seem to get about Real Madrid.
The New Stadium Upgrades Show a Continuing Commitment to Excellence
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Let's start big.
Real Madrid have announced plans to give a massive upgrade to their Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
After a relatively poor start to the league season, Real Madrid made the news all over the world from Taiwan to Nigeria to India and America, variously questioning the players, the management and reporting the general state of their difficult beginning to the campaign.
That is truly global coverage of a club.
Perhaps borne of manager Jose Mourinho's own comments about his players underperforming, some went as far as to think that Real Madrid might be unable to continue their success of last season and be in decline.
Nothing could be further from the truth. As one of the biggest clubs in the world and with an infrastructure and spending-power to match, Real are gearing up the next big phase in the club's history.
Not only is the Bernabeu about to get a makeover, it will also be one of the most technologically-advanced grounds anywhere in football.
This is further evidence of not just planning for a future, but a successful one.
There Is an Expectation to Bring Through Youngsters
Raul playing in 1996
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Here's one of the most dredged-up arguments about Real Madrid: they spend massive money on superstar signings instead of bringing through their youth talents.
With Barcelona doing plenty of great work in the opposite direction, it's a very easy way to target Real Madrid.
Well, it does and it doesn't, depending on which way you look at it.
Go back through the years and you'll see the fantastic list of former Real Madrid C-team players who went on to represent the first team: Guti, Alfonso, Raul of course—and not to mention current players Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa (via spells at Depor and Liverpool) and Jose Callejon.
There is also the case of Ruben de la Red, who would doubtless have still been performing for Real had he not been forced to retire.
However, there is also no doubt that an astonishing number of players played in the lower trenches of Real's tiered system before being inexplicably allowed to join other teams: Juan Mata, Borja Valero, Esteban Cambiasso and Samuel Eto'o are maybe the biggest and best examples.
A decade ago, Real looked to focus on bringing defenders through their ranks whilst splashing out on the attacking half of the team, but a succession of failures to be good enough—such as Oscar Minambres, Francisco Pavon, Alvaro Mejia and Raul Bravo—perhaps point to the fact that the players, rather than the system, weren't good enough.
But Real Madrid do not have a policy against bringing through players. There are big hopes that the likes of Alvaro Morata and Jese will go on to succeed where Javi Portillo and Daniel Carvajal failed—in making themselves regular members of the first team squad over a sustained period of time.
Whether the current manager is the one to oversee that transition is another point, but the club itself quite clearly have an agenda, which includes youth improvement.
Jose Mourinho Takes the Attention for a Reason
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Speculation has been rife almost from when Mourinho arrived that he would eventually depart for Chelsea or Manchester United, yet he is only 11 months shy of making this the longest spell the Portuguese boss has ever spent at a single team.
Three years and three months is his current longest time at any one club, spent at Chelsea, while he has so far been at Real Madrid for two years and four months.
As the self-styled "Special One," who openly claims his own achievements are "amazing", there is naturally a limit to how long Mourinho might grace a club with his presence before moving on to win countless trophies with a new lucky side.
Constantly the focus for attention in his press conferences, during matches and certainly after defeats, Mourinho has jibes thrown his way by all and sundry—and is perfectly happy to give plenty back.
After a poor display he won't be shy in letting the public know the reasons for his disappointment, but above all he accepts that as manager, the responsibility for results starts and stops with himself.
Why is this man in the media all the time? For the simple reason that it lets his players, his team, get on with their own game and training without the need to be constantly subjected to scrutiny.
If Ronaldo doesn't score for two games in a row the Spanish media would be in uproar, trying to find a reason for the drastic loss of form and seeing which players aren't passing him the ball. But with Mourinho to interview and give them sound bites instead, the player can be left alone, protected, able to leave the stadium in peace and get ready to score a hat trick in the next game instead.
Mourinho is a master in mentally preparing his troops for battle—and in misdirection when dealing with the press.
They Put Themselves Under the Most Pressure
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A few defeats into the start of a new season, and Real Madrid hadn't gotten off to the best defence of their title.
With recourse to the previous slide, Jose Mourinho obliged by giving the press a neat and tidy leveller of his squad: "I don't have a team right now."
Of course the message is meant to reinforce the message to his players that they need to work harder, perform better and get the results required and expected, but it also gives the media a chance to criticise individuals and perhaps the team as a whole.
Perhaps lazy ideas of the team being above themselves, thinking they only have to turn up to win games, begin to surface.
This is Real Madrid. Players fill the squad who have won Champions Leagues, European Championships, La Liga titles and World Cups.
There is no doubt that professionalism and pride are somewhere right near the top of this group of players' list of requirements on a day-to-day basis, and nobody will be more expectant of improvements in the near future than they will.
The Club Exists to Win Trophies
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Real Madrid exist for just one reason: to win football trophies.
Everything else is a by-product of being one of the biggest clubs ever on a planet with an insatiable hunger for news and an obsession with the sport.
In looking for stories, trying to find rifts where none exist, over-analysing methods and techniques and decisions and goodness knows what else, one main factor is forgotten—the club is there to win games and, by extension, trophies.
110 years, 32 league titles, 18 domestic cups, nine European Cups, two UEFA Cups and a combined total of 13 minor trophies.
That should tell you everything you need to know about Real Madrid Club de Futbol.