New Galacticos = Must See TV: Who Will Leave Real Madrid?

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New Galacticos = Must See TV: Who Will Leave Real Madrid?
(Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

The previous Galacticos era was world-renowned for the players that were brought to Real Madrid, but it should also be notable for the players that left.

The exodus included Madrid legends Fernando Hierro and Fernando Redondo, along with Claude Makelele and Samuel Eto'o. Makelele's exit is cited by many former Madrid players as one of the key reasons of the demise of the Galactico era.

It's no coincidence that three of the above four played on the defensive side of the field, as Perez is deathly allergic to acknowledging the importance of defense in the game of football

But a move that Perez certainly regrets is releasing Samuel Eto'o, who has gone on to score quiet a few goals for arch-rivals Barcelona.

Now, Perez is back in charge and embarking on another massive spending spree. In my last article, I opined about what other Galactico might come to Madrid this year. Today, I look at the other side of the equation.

Who will leave from Madrid's squad this year?

For all the talk of the crisis at Madrid, much the squad that won back-to-back La Liga's before being outclassed by Barcelona last year still remains. That means that Madrid will have to let go of some quality players to make way for the new Galacticos.

Will the exodus force another Cantera product to ply his trade somewhere else?

For all the talk of the Madrid youth system being in ruins, Real Madrid just won the under-18 World Championship, fittingly defeating Barcelona's youth team in the championship game. So there is talent in the pipeline and Perez's Galactico policy might be a detriment to Madrid's future if it sends away more young talent.

At the time of Kaka's deal, Perez announced that at least nine members of the current squad will make way for the Galacticos. Now with Ronaldo, that number looks like it will be 10.

A key thing to remember is that with the World Cup one year away, many players who are looking to cement their national team spot will want to be on a team that allows them to feature in the starting eleven.

 

Let's look at the players who are most likely to be shipped out:

Fabio Cannavaro (CB): Already signed with Juventus.

Gabriel Heinze (LB): Age catching up with Argentine who was a liability last year, especially against Liverpool.

Christopher Metzelder (CB): Never healthy in Madrid, will probably move back to Germany to rediscover his form and keep his national team spot.

Royston Drenthe (Left-wing): Dutch winger, who did not want to be picked for games last year, already had one foot out the door before the new additions.

Mahamadou Diarra (Def Mid): Diarra unfortunately lost his position and number to his namesake, Lass, after going down with injury last year.

Rafael van der Vaart (Att Mid): Another Dutch player who didn't get playing time last year and was visibly frustrated.

Wesley Sneijder (Att Mid): The heavily hyped Dutch contingent at Madrid will only have lasted for one year, as Sneijder is crowded out of the midfield by Kaka. He will generate plenty of interest after his Euro 2008 performance, and he will want to feature in a starting eleven.

Javier Saviola (Striker): The Argentine is already 27 years old and will not want to waste the prime of his career on the bench.

 

The players whose status is up in the air:

Michel Salgado (RB): Age has caught up with the long-time Madrid defender , but he has always wanted to retire with Madrid and is willing to accept his back-up role. Perez might have other ideas though.

 

Arjen Robben (Left-wing): Madrid fans are dreaming of a diamond midfield, with Robben and Ronaldo flying down the flanks, Kaka as a attacking midfielder, and Lass playing the Makelele role in the back.

It would arguably be the best midfield in the world, but the major question is Robben, who last year was Madrid's best attacking force, mainly because he managed to stay healthy longer than he usually does.

He was criticized last year for his selfishness in not passing the ball. Robben will probably not like playing third fiddle behind Ronaldo and Kaka who also demand the ball.

With the World Cup on the horizon, he also must be guaranteed of a spot in the starting eleven so he is in form for South Africa. Pellegrini might be fine with allowing Marcelo, who performed well in the left-wing slot last year, to fully take over Robben's spot.

 

Ruben de la Red (Att Mid): The Spanish international is a Madrid Cantera product who only a year ago was celebrating the Euro 2008 championship and poised to have a breakout year with Madrid.

Fast forward one year and his Madrid career looks in jeopardy after he collapsed on the field after suffering a syncope during a Copa Del Rey game. He was held out for seven months as a precaution and has only featured in an exhibition game since.

It is yet to be seen what kind of form he will be in after such a long lay-off. Also, now due to Madrid's crowded midfield, he is not even guaranteed a starting spot. With the World Cup on the horizon, he will be eager to reclaim his spot on La Furia Roja, and will likely need to feature for a starting eleven to prove his form.

Another season on-loan looks looms for the midfielder, especially if Xabi Alonso is brought in.

 

Guti (Att Mid): The Madrid vice-captain has long served the cause for Los Blancos in whatever position they asked him to play. He was finally able to return to his prefferred creative midfielder position after an original galactico, Zidane, retired.

Now with Kaka in the squad, his position is in jeopardy, and at 32 he might not want to ride the bench for the last years of his career. Although he penned a life-time contract with Madrid last year for his loyalty and service to Madrid, he has never received the adulation that Raul and Casillas have at the Bernabéu.

Guti's position highly depends on what kind of formation Madrid opt for and any other further changes to the squad. If Perez succeeds in his chase for Xabi Alonso, look for Guti to be playing somewhere else next year.

 

Ruud van Nistelrooy (Striker): The Dutch legend was in form last year when he unfortunately went down with a season-ending knee injury. Only two years removed from the Pichichi, Ruud, still had what it takes to score goals, but it remains to see if will truly recover from this injury at the age of 32.

On the positive side of things, Ruud, never relied on his speed to be great, so he can still be an effective striker at his advancing age and even if his injury makes him lose a step.

The key in determining Ruud's future will be Perez's ability to sign another striker that he wants, David Villa or Diego Forlan. If Perez succeeds, it will come down to a choice between Raul and Ruud, which is a competition that Raul will always win because of his iconic status at the Bernabéu.

But don't feel bad for Ruud, there are plenty of Premier League teams chomping at the bit to bring him back to the league where he previously had great success.

 

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Striker): Another Dutch player, Huntelaar finds himself in somewhat similar circumstances to the man he replaced at Madrid and the Dutch National team.

In the prime of his career at 25 years old, Huntelaar does not want waste time on the bench, especially knowing that he would be in the starting eleven at 95% of the other clubs in the world.

He will also want to be in form for the World-Cup next year as the Dutch have plenty of attacking talent who could replace him in the starting eleven, if Huntelaar is not up to par.

 

Real Madrid's future success will depend as much on the players that Perez keeps as the ones as he brings in.

In the next edition of New Galacticos, Must See TV, I will look at the possible formations that Manuel Pellegrini could play to accommodate the new talent on the team.

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