Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Oezil: How They'll Work Together Under Ancelotti
The fanfare over Gareth Bale's potential arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu is as strong as ever as we draw even closer to the start of the new La Liga campaign.
Bale's not the first to experience it though. Already this summer, similar storylines underpinned Real Madrid's moves for Malaga's Isco and Real Sociedad's Asier Illarramendi—thankfully they've long since been concluded.
Buried underneath all the over-hyped words spilling out regarding the transfer market, there's an almost blase attitude being attributed to the fact that Madrid already own some of the world's best players, not to mention one of football's greatest partnerships.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Oezil.
"Neymar and [Lionel] Messi?" Sergio Ramos said to ESPN recently. "I prefer Cristiano and Oezil, my teammates here at Madrid," via Goal.com.
It's not difficult to see why Ramos would entertain that opinion, even if the partnership between the two is often overlooked. The Portuguese and the the German are the duo who have contributed the most goals as a partnership in La Liga since 2000, via RealMadrid.com.
|Mesut Oezil-Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)||20|
|Fran Yeste-Ismael Urzaiz (Athletic Bilbao)||19|
|Jesus Navas-Frederic Kanoute (Sevilla)||18|
The goals have come over just three seasons. The first Oezil-assisted Ronaldo strike came against Deportivo de La Coruna in 2010, the most recent against Real Valladolid this May.
So far it has been Jose Mourinho solely in charge of making the pair function, now the task falls upon Carlo Ancelotti to continue the pair's working relationship.
"If it's not broke, don't fix it" is often a term applied to things that run as smoothly as the love-in between Oezil and Ronaldo, but as Ancelotti seeks to alter Madrid slightly, changes may become visible in the relationship between two of Madrid's most consistent performers.
The Italian, with the players he now has at his disposal, seems set to lightly tinker as Madrid evolve from a team often associated with being happy to counter-attack into a side who look more set to play keep-ball in the middle and final thirds.
It perhaps means break-away goals, like this one against Barcelona when Madrid effectively sealed the title in 2012, are more likely to be replaced by intricate one-twos in the danger areas, like this one the two combined for against Villarreal.
Ronaldo's likely to remain on the left of Madrid's attacking triumvirate, although playing centrally is apparently being toyed with by Ancelotti, while Oezil's position remains less clear.
Often the focal, central point in midfield, it has not been uncommon for the 24-year-old to line up on the right side—even in big matches. The arrival of Isco points towards one of those two having to play right, the other central, probably on a rotational basis within matches. That's presuming Angel di Maria is not going to be a regular starter under the new manager.
With Illarramendi, possibly Modric too, as the deeper midfielders behind Oezil and Isco, Madrid's emphasis is then, as already suggested, much more likely to involve possession.
Oezil and Ronaldo will both obviously feature; both will adapt too, they're far too good not to.
Their relationship may not continue specifically as it has done over the past three seasons, but it will continue. The German will continue to feed the Portuguese.
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