The Real Madrid Revolution: Does It Favour Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal?

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IJuly 2, 2009

ROME - MAY 27: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Barcelona and Manchester United at the Stadio Olimpico on May 27, 2009 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Just when it seemed the second installment of Real Madrid's 'Galactico' movement had lulled somewhat, along came the news that they had agreed a £30 million deal for Lyon striker Karim Benzema.

This would take their summer spending spree up to an enormous £180 million on just four players.

Don't be surprised if this total grows even further as the summer drags on, with Franck Ribery today declaring his interest and desire to join Madrid.

To sign him, Madrid would most likely have to make another bid well in excess of £50 million.

However, this Galactico movement is not just being felt in Spain, but all over Europe.

AC Milan have lost their best player, and Lyon and Bayern Munich could be on the verge of suffering a similar fate.

Where the effect could be most profound, however, is in England. More specifically, up in Manchester.

As we all know, Madrid smashed the transfer record they had set just days previously in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for £80 million. In doing so, they captured one of the best players in the world.

United also lost one of the best players in the world and, along with Carlos Tevez leaving, that left their previously formidable front-line looking quite bare, with just Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov left from last season's main four.

No problem. Sir Alex Ferguson always has a replacement lined up, and in Manchester there were excited whisperings of Franck Ribery.

It ended up, however, being Antonio Valencia.

Now, many may disagree with me when I say that Valencia isn't up to the job of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo (who is?), but let's look at both players' qualities.

Ronaldo is stronger, faster, more agile, better at heading, better at shooting, better at set-pieces, better at taking it past people, etc. I could go on. It seems like Valencia has nothing on Ronaldo, except perhaps crossing ability.

Sure, Ferguson may have found a diamond in the rough like he has done so many times. Ronaldo himself was unrecognisable to today's player when he first walked through the Old Trafford doors, but it seems to me that he has had to look for players who aren't the best in the world.


Because Real Madrid get them now.

United, being one of the best clubs in the world, are naturally going to go for the best players. However, they have had a rude awakening this summer, realising that they simply don't have the same draw power as Madrid.

Ronaldo has been coaxed away, while Ribery and Benzema have both snubbed United in favour of Madrid.

This is great news for their title challengers. There is no doubt that United had to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, and the only way to do that would be to get another top player.

Their inability to get top players now means that they will be significantly weakened at the start of next season if something doesn't change.

Liverpool are probably the team with the most to gain through this. After narrowly missing out on the title last season, a weakened United squad, coupled with the strengthening of their own squad could provide the best chance to win the title in the last 20 years.

However, they could also fall victim to this revolution. Xabi Alonso has been touted as a target for Madrid while Javier Mascherano 's name has been mentioned in Barcelona's backlash.

Alvaro Arbeloa has been subject to much speculation following Glen Johnson's move to Liverpool, while I've even heard the ridiculous rumours that Steven Gerrard is on their shopping list as well.

Chelsea could also take full advantage of this. With a new manager and potentially a few new players, they were always going to be a major threat.

With United being weakened, this could be their best chance to win the title since the days of Jose Mourinho.

Even Arsenal, who have a hugely promising side, could pose a serious threat if they can keep hold of their top players.

Whatever happens, Sir Alex Ferguson will have to draw upon every bit of his considerable managerial experience to fill the huge gap Ronaldo and Tevez have left.

It has been filled somewhat by the arrival of Antonio Valencia, but with Ribery and Benzema no longer options, Fergie will need another ace up his sleeve if he wants to capture that record-breaking 19th league title.


Quiz Question No. 9 Answer:

Raul in 2000 (vs. Valencia) and 2002 (vs. Bayern Leverkusen)


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