Why Real Madrid Need Zlatan to Make Great Leap Forward

Tim Stannard@laligalocaContributor IMay 14, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 10:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint-Germain runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg match between Barcelona and Paris St Germain at Nou Camp on April 10, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Winning the Spanish League used to be a significant achievement. It used to be tough. But ever since Real Madrid and Barcelona’s financial superiority ruled everyone else out of the running, La Primera title race has become a bit of a snore-fest. 

In 2010, when Barcelona reached the 99-point barrier to win the title, we gasped. Two years later, their rivals in the Spanish capital beat it by one point to reach the century mark, and we applauded. Barcelona are on track to repeat the feat this season, and in all honesty we have yawned and moved on. 

To win the Spanish League these days, you have to want it more than your rivals and little else. Being victorious in the Champions League is the new drug for Madrid and Barcelona. La Liga has become the football equivalent of trying to get happy times from a can of Bud Light. The Clasico pair are looking for much bigger hits. 

Real Madrid have not won the Champions League since 2002, and this is becoming a bit of a dysfunctional issue for the club, considering "lesser" sides like Porto, Liverpool and Chelsea have picked up the trinket in the intervening years. More embarrassingly, Barcelona have won it on three occasions. 

To get out of this funk, Real Madrid are going to have to come up with a bold strategy. In 2009, the club did this with the purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo, a signing that has proven to be rather successful. To make the next step and become the sandcastle-kicking bully boys of Europe, Madrid need to think big. Very big. About 7-feet tall big, in fact. Real Madrid need Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

Although Ibrahimovic has claimed to be quite content in the French capital, the football rumour mill sees the Swedish striker bored at PSG with the Eiffel Tower, thoughtful cinema and chocolate-based breakfasts having lost their allure for the formidable forward.

A return to his favourite stomping ground of Serie A is certainly an option for the 31-year-old, who has played for three clubs in the Italian league. However, a cheeky spell at Real Madrid could be a whole bag of fun for the footballer, fans and the billions who will watch around the world munching popcorn to see what will happen next. 

Ibrahimovic’s spell at Barcelona in 2009 started fairly well, until Pep Guardiola moved the front line around a bit. The Swede scored 16 league goals in 29 appearances before falling out a little with Guardiola over the coach’s tactical tweaks. “I am a Ferrari and you are driving me as a Fiat,” was the accusation Ibrahimovic claimed to have made, writing in his autobiography I, Zlatan

Being the centre of attention and showing off certainly would not be a problem at Real Madrid, a team who like their footballers to preen and stand out as much as humanely possible. Whilst it is unclear who will be manager at the Santiago Bernabeu next season, it does not really matter. As long as the Real Madrid boss obeys his superstar’s wishes, everything will be just fine. 

What the Swede will offer in return are extraordinary skills, immense strength, cool kung fu moves and the knack of winning titles. The current PSG striker up front, Mesut Ozil tucked into the hole, Cristiano Ronaldo on the left and Angel di Maria on the right with Karim Benzema as backup would be a fascinating forward line. It could perhaps give Real Madrid the extra boost needed to win a 10th European Cup title and maybe one or two more. 

Of course, it could end as a distressing costly disaster as Barcelona found out when the footballer moved to Milan for a massive economic loss, after just the one year in the Catalan capital. That’s unimportant though in a league that thrives on controversy and scandalous behaviour. The temperamental, unpredictable but supremely talented Ibrahimovic is more than worth the risk for Real Madrid.  


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