Can Madrid's New Galactico's Defeat Brilliant Barca?
It has been an exciting week in the world of football.
Madrid broke the world transfer record—which they set themselves back in 2001—to sign Brazillian superstar Kaka from AC Milan. Then they smashed the record once again, finally breaking Manchester United's resolve and ending a three year tug of war over Cristiano Ronaldo.
Madrid also appears set to add David Villa to an all-star cast and are still interested in Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Liverpool playmaker Xabi Alonso.
Yet it seems they are neglecting the one area of the team that needs strengthening the most—their defence.
On eight occasions last season, Madrid conceded three or more goals in a game, including a 4-0 Champions League demolition at Anfield and a 6-2 humbling in their own back yard at the hands of fierce rivals Barcelona.
They conceded 52 league goals to Barcelona's 35, while seventh placed Deportivo conceded only 47.
Remarkably, no team in the top half of the Premiership conceded more league goals than Madrid.
Bear in mind, this happened despite the presence of Iker Casillas, one of the worlds finest goalkeepers, behind the Madrid defence. Their defence has been weakened even further with the departure of experienced Italian Fabio Cannavaro.
Pepe has been an expensive flop, while Gabriel Heinze is past his best, and although Marcelo is useful in attack, there are question marks over his defensive capabilities.
Right back Sergio Ramos appears to be the only consistent defender currently at the club, and a complete overhaul of the backline would appear to be necessary if Madrid are to challenge for major honours next season.
They are apparently interested in Valencia's Raul Albiol, which would be a good start. Rumour has it they are also preparing to bid for either Patrice Evra or Gael Clichy.
It is remarkable, however, that they have prioritised three attacking players when the likes of Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Raul, Klass Jan Huntelaar, and Gonzalo Higuain are already at the club.
They are more than capable of both scoring and creating goals.
Club president Florentino Perez, the man who presided over the previous Galactico era, certainly seems to know what he's doing with the commercial aspect of the club. Kaka and Ronaldo are sure to generate massive revenue.
However, his ability to build a team actually capable of winning trophies is doubtful.
If Madrid could add a player such as Manchester United's Nemaja Vidic to partner Albiol, as well as signing either Clichy or Evra, they could be serious contenders for both the La Liga and Champions League trophies next season.
But it's no good having their all-star attack score three goals, only for their leaky defence to concede four!
Last season, Barcelona, with a team assembled for a fraction of the price of Real's, combined sublime attacking play with a solid defence. Three quality centre backs were available in Marquez, Pique, and Puyol, and the powerful Yaya Toure sat in front of the back four.
Madrid need to try and emalute Barca if they are to be successful this season, and that means taking care of the defence as well as the attack.
Until someone at Real realises that they need more than these "marquee" signings, they will win nothing.
On a brighter note, however, next season's Real vs. Barca game is sure to be a thriller!
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