Real Madrid’s 2013/14 season will be looked back upon as one to remember, but let’s not forget that it was a matter of seconds away from being a disastrous campaign.
Having already surrendered the La Liga title to bitter city rivals Atletico, Real then trailed them 1-0 in the Champions League final as additional time at the end of the second half ticked by, only for Sergio Ramos to sensationally head his side level.
Extra time was then an easy ride for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, running out 4-1 victors to claim “La Decima” in style and add it to their season’s honour list with the Copa del Rey.
However, the fact that Real have been crowned Spanish champions just once in the last six seasons will be in the back of Ancelotti’s mind, and he could be bringing some new Galacticos to the Bernabeu in the coming months to claim his side’s title back.
Stars in world football don’t come much bigger than James Rodriguez at the moment, with the Monaco man taking the World Cup by storm, and he’s the latest player on the Italian manager’s radar.
Though Rodriguez cost Monaco €45 million just last summer, he’s already expressed his desire to make a switch to Spain—per radio station Cadena Cope (h/t Miles Chambers of Goal.com):
“I would love to play in Spain. It would be a dream to play there—it is the best league in the world.”
With Spain looking a likely destination for the talented Rodriguez, just the matter of choosing between the Spanish football heavyweights remains, and Bleacher Report's Guillem Balague revealed that the Colombian is leaning toward Los Blancos:
James Rodriguez: "I prefer Real Madrid to Barcelona". He did not waste much time positioning himself— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) June 28, 2014
At just 22 years of age, Rodriguez looks like spearheading the next generation of world football’s best and he’s already won some big-name fans for his exploits in Brazil—including LeBron James:
Though the future of the No. 10 role at the Bernabeu looks like being Isco’s, Rodriguez’s signing would undoubtedly throw a spanner in the works as the man is nothing short of a sensation.
With all the World Cup poison surrounding Uruguay ahead of their last 16 clash with Colombia after Luis Suarez’s mindless actions, Rodriguez turned out to be the antidote with a sublime performance.
The 22-year-old netted an emphatic brace at the Estadio do Maracana, his first goal of which was arguably the best of the tournament so far—per Bleacher Report:
With five goals in just four games in Brazil, Rodriguez has more than announced himself on the world stage and will fit in perfectly in Madrid. However, the club will also be assessing their defensive personnel as well as attacking and could be in line for a new goalkeeper.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina star is reportedly rated at £15 million and Armitage revealed that Ancelotti is looking to secure his signing as soon as possible with current first-choice goalkeeper Diego Lopez on the brink of a move to Serie A.
Though Begovic is far from a Rodriguez-esque, glamorous transfer, he’s an incredibly reliable pair of hands—as he’s proved with Stoke over the years.
As Squawka Football’s statistics reveal, the 27-year-old has kept 21 clean sheets in his last two Premier League seasons for Stoke and is central behind their stubborn defensive line.
There have been whispers of Begovic being one of the world’s best over the last year, and with Real Madrid’s interest, those whispers are getting a lot louder, but it’s not a shock for Stoke manager Mark Hughes—per Armitage:
“I'm not surprised if top teams are looking at him because he's an outstanding keeper.”
Outstanding, indeed, and with Lopez set to leave and Iker Casillas looking past his best, there could be a place at the Bernabeu for Begovic.
While the World Cup is famous for showcasing emerging talent, the potential of both Rodriguez and Begovic has been evident for some time, just the matter of luring them to the Spanish capital remains.
However, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema already donning the famous white shirt and the promise of elite stardom awaiting any new Galactico, Ancelotti’s powers of persuasion don’t need to be too finely tuned.
Rodriguez and Begovic would see the start of a new era at Real Madrid as European champions, and their transfers would undoubtedly help the Spanish giants to cement their place at the top of the world game once again.