Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Reflecting on Player Movements in the Calderon-Mijatovic Era Part 6



Arrival – Roberto Soldado (back from loan from Osasuna)
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Before the Calderon-Mijatovic era, my memories of Roberto Soldado were about his goal scoring prowess while he was still at Real Madrid Castilla and his substitute appearances every so often in the first team. I remember seeing him score a crucial goal against a Greek Team (don’t remember who it was) in the Champions League. Then…. We sent him off to Osasuna…. Where he scored 13 goals (I think), which was enough for us to want him back… Only for Schuster to chuck him to the far end of the bench.
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There are a few crucial factors at play here: and it’s not the fact that Raul and Ruud are the unquestionable starting strikers. That’s elementary. It’s the general rotation scheme which Schuster had. His priority for the bench seemed to indicate a few things. Firstly, that he wanted Baptista ‘in the loop.’ As such, ‘The Beast’ was played as a striker / 2nd striker off the bench almost as much as he has played at midfield: minutes that could’ve been Soldado’s. Secondly, there’s the issue of Saviola as well… and later on Higuain, who started the season as the supposed substitute for the right side of midfield but then later on evolved as a striking option (he started slow, but his flurry of goals off the bench late in the season handed us the title much faster). Lastly, was the premature (or ‘scheduled’) end to Real Madrid’s Copa Del Rey Ambitions, a tournament which was supposedly his to showcase his abilities.
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I’m happy that this guy has chosen to be a gentleman in this difficult situation. I think Madrid owe him a good destination to move on to. Hopefully however, that people haven’t forgotten his 13 goal haul in Osasuna 2 seasons ago… all that extra cash will be needed by the club as we find ourselves once again pursuing another ‘galactico.’
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Promoted from the Youth Team – Miguel Torres
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If Miguel Torres can accept his role in this current team, then I believe that he will be able to manage a good long-enough stay at the club. And it will not be a Soldado-like situation. It’s very clear to everyone, and I’m sure it’s clear to him too, that he is the substitute of someone whom many believe is/ can be the best Right Back in the world: Sergio Ramos.
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Torres can go forward to cross balls in reasonably well (he assisted 2 goals for RVN last season, playing as a left back), can play decent defense, and best of all can play both as a right back and a left back, supposedly, he can even play center back. The bottom line is that he can be that utility defensive player off the bench for Madrid. Further down the line, offers will come for him to join another team to be a starter and he must decide: a guaranteed started in another (likely to be mid-table) team? Or as that utility defensive player for his boyhood club which also happens to be the biggest and greatest in the world?
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Considering the circumstances by which he arrived (filling in for injury and suspension gaps in the Capello-era), he has emerged as a comfortable squad player for the club. His value, though not explicit, is clear. I’m hoping he stays for many years and further develops. There’s no reason to believe he won’t.

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