New Galacticos= Must See TV: Who will be the next galactico?
An attacking midfielder from Serie A, a Portuguese winger, and if reports are to be believed, a striker with a prolific record on the international level.
If I didn't have a calendar around, I would swear it's 2002 again, as a certain Florentino Perez is up to his old tricks at Real Madrid.
Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Villa (if reports are to be believed, and at this point I believe anything that comes out of Madrid) are set to succeed the thrones of the original Galacticos: Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and the original "Ronaldo".
Sadly, Perez will not be able to exactly duplicate the previous Galacticos, because there is truly one and only "Golden Balls", aka David Beckham. But you never know, "Becks" is free to sign with anyone once he opts out of his LA Galaxy contract, and he is still worth millions in advertising revenue.
The original Galacticos crashed from the lofty skies, after a Champions League trophy and two La Liga Titles, because of Perez's deathly allergy to acknowledging the importance of defensive players and the fact there was only one football to share between multiple individual stars.
Now, instead of signing one "Galactico" per summer, Perez is changing it up and trying to sign multiple Galacticos in one swoop. This will either lead to beautiful football returning to the capital of Spain or a spectacular explosion that will spread egg all over Perez's face.
Whatever happens, it will make for riveting theater.
The future of Los Blancos will hinge on specific issues that will be addressed in different parts:
Part 1: One Galactico, two Galactico, three Galactico?
The latest reports have David Villa, Spain and Valencia's star striker, as the next Galactico lined up to head to the Bernabéu. If Villa doesn't pan out, Madrid is courting Diego Forlan, while also showing interest in midfielders Franck Ribery and Xabi Alonso.
There's a disturbing trend in this policy that should worry Madristas, these are all attack-minded players in a team that doesn't need any more attacking talent, especially at striker.
You can't help but feel sorry for Madrid's captain, Raul, who was the forgotten man in the previous era of Galacticos, and now in this era might be pushed to a substitute role. For all the exaggerated talks of his demise, Raul, along with Gonzago Higuain, still led Los Blancos in goals with 24.
After a three-year blip in form from 2004-2006, Raul has returned to plundering goals. His biggest fault is that he doesn't possess a single quality that distinguishes him from the others, but he still finds ways to score and is a tireless worker on the pitch. Plus, as the captain and Madrid legend, it will be hard-pressed for Real's manager, Manuel Pellegrini, to quietly send Raul to the bench.
Higuain, who is absurdly being looked over by Maradona for Argentina, scored 22 goals in La Liga last year, only one less than his much more highly regarded compatriot, Lionel Messi. Only 21 years old, he has already shown a knack for clutch goals, and should be given the time to further develop.
Madrid also have two Dutch poachers, one on his way out, and one emerging, in Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Van Nistelrooy, although coming off a knee injury, still gets the job done when healthy, as shown by 10 goals in 12 appearances last year.
Huntelaar, brought in to replace Nistelrooy last year, has shown flashes of the same poaching ability as Ruud. At 25 years old, he is just entering his prime. Now that he has had some time to adjust to La Liga, he certainly has the potential to be a star striker for Madrid.
Add to this attacking fulcrum, Kaka and Ronaldo, two men who know how to score goals. Kaka has the ability to play as a second striker, and a staple of his game is blazing runs into the box.
Ronaldo only truly flourishes when he's allowed a free role that allows him to play anywhere from the wing to the forward position, and that will have to be incorporated into Madrid's formation.
Finally, you can't forget about Arjen Robben, Madrid's best attacking threat from last season, who rarely wants to give up the ball as he dribbles his way past defenders into the box.
Thus, you can see why David Villa might be excess to the needs of Madrid.
As hard as it might be, Perez should turn his attention to the defensive side of the field, where Madrid need another centre-back to replace Fabio Cannavaro. A player such as Bruno Alves would shore up a defensive line that already features a world-class right back in Sergio Ramos and Pepe, a great centre-back in spite of that ridiculous tantrum he threw last year.
The left back role should be given to Miguel Torres, who was good enough to start under Fabio Capello, and we all know that Don Fabio only starts players who truly deserve it. Torres, only 23, was developing under Capello, before being benched by Schuster and Ramos. He is not attack-minded, but in a squad full of attacking talent, he doesn't need to be. Plus, it would prevent another Real Madrid cantera product from leaving the Bernabéu.
In the next edition of New Galacticos: Must See TV, I address the players that will leave Madrid next year as a result of Perez's policy.
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