Thursday, July 17, 2008

Selected Featured Departures in the Calderon-Mijatovic Era

Departure – Ronaldo to Milan…. Then to the TransvestitesWent to Milan… scored some goals. Ended up with 3 Transvestites. His belly is bigger than mine! And let me tell you, my belly is big!
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Retrospectively, I will always choose to remember Ronaldo more fondly, for his great comebacks and the piles and piles of 'golazos' he has scored. My negative sentiments re: him are mostly just me lamenting on a player who could have REALLY been the greatest footballer of all time.


Departure – David Beckham to Hollywood, err…. The LA Galaxy
Is David Beckham really just such an unlucky bastard? He works his tail off, makes no trouble on the media even when his ass is glued to the bench yet his arrival seems to mark or is perceived as symbolical of all that went wrong with Real Madrid during the Florentino Perez era. I’m happy he’s finally been givne the chance to win silverware before leaving Madrid... and along the way, it gave me the chance to prove the doubters wrong and even win some money through online sports betting (hahaha!).... 




Departure - Roberto Carlos to Fenerbache
It was sad to see the greatest Left Back of all time leave Real Madrid. I do think that his age and the absence of a truly great Centerback exposed him. Either way, he will always be among the greats. And I will admire and respect him for the way he has conducted his departure from Madrid so well. In due time, the club and its fans will remember him and honor him as he deserves to be.









Departure - Antonio CassanoI’m glad this nutcase has left us!





Reflecting on Player Movements in the Calderon-Mijatovic Era Part 8

Arrival – Royston Drenthe
The first thing that Royston Drenthe has to do, or the coaching staff of Madrid has to do, is figure out exactly what the hell he is. Is he a left back? A Left Winger? A Central Midfielder? No one really knows…. No one’s sure. The sooner we find out what he is, the better for everyone. He’ll train on developing the necessary skillset for the said position and will finetune his considerable natural gifts to fit that role.

That’s one thing that Drenthe certainly has: natural physical gifts. He’s got pace, a cool ability to finish when the goal scoring opportunity presents himself to him, he’s got some moves (he’s got this signature ‘cross-over’ feint-jink move) and strength too.

That said however, I do think that Real paid too much money for him. But then again, Real does pay too much money for anything. Only time will tell if it was the right move to bring him into RM. The jury’s still out on him. For the mean time however, I do suggest loaning him out to some club that will give him first team action and help us figure out exactly what the hell he is. Worst case scenario, he’ll do well as ‘trade-bait.’
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Arrival – Christoph Metzelder
I had HUGE hopes for Metzelder. He was a key player in Borussia Dortmund’s breaking of the Bayern stranglehold on the Bundesliga title, and considered unquestionable at the heart of the German National Team’s vaunted defense. The guy was even rated as an 86 in my FIFA 2007 game! So for him to come on a free transfer was definitely a great delight for me… at first. We knew he had spent a lot of the past few years injured. But heck, there he was with a ‘thumbs up’ sign during his medical telling us he’s strong as a bull. And what did we get: a season on the treatment table.

With his height, we all happily thought we should be less scared of those aerial balls and high crosses coming in. But who knew he was as slow as a hippo? He was totally not up to scratch during the Euros. Was he just getting back into shape? I hope we figure out soon enough if he’s any useful… coz if he’s not, we best put him on the shopping window and sell him to the first buyer before he gets really found out and we get stuck with an oversized oaf.
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Arrival – Emerson then off to Milan…
Former Captain of Brazil, disciple of the great Fabio Capello and had a mean-as-hell nickname ‘The Puma.’ When he played well, Madrid won. Trouble was, that didn’t happen very much last season. He was slow, cumbersome, clumsy, conservative and covered very little ground. He was very much a redundant with Diarra’s presence and hardly offered anything going forward. For all the criticism Madrid’s fans get for not knowing how to appreciate Blue-Collar players, in this case, I agree with them. It was clear that by the time he reached Madrid, he was no longer the player he was at Roma or Juventus. Forget the comments of him being unsuitable to the La Liga style of play: he went back to Milan and remains a benchwarmer there.
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Arrival – Jose Antonio Reyes then to Atletico Madrid
I had a really great impression of him when he came in. I’ve seen him with Arsenal. Fast, aggressive, has a great shot and can even score form free kicks. Sadly, he was a victim in Calderon’s obsession to land one of his 3 electoral promises: Arjen Robben. We later on also discovered that Robinho was best on the left. So there we were: from starting the past season figuring out how to populate the left side and we get stuck with 2 left sided players and then some more.
Sadly Reyes never shined with our cross-town rivals. I would’ve liked to see him succeed because I’ve always nodded approvingly at his public displays of affection towards Real Madrid. Somehow, I think the dip in form was very apparent… resulting in him not even being considered at all for a spot in Spain’s Euro-team. He scored some great goals for Madrid. Despite the see-sawing of his form in Madrid, I will always remember him for those critical goals and flashes of brilliance which we saw from him.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Reflecting on Player Movements in the Calderon-Mijatovic Era Part 7

Promoted from the Youth Team – Jordi Codina
I haven’t seen him play… but there’s been quite a bit of positive feedback about him. He’s 3rd in the pecking order though, rightfully behind Casillas but debatably behind Dudek. As a Castilla graduate, he’d definitely make a fan favorite. But given his age, he and Madrid are at that crossroads now: he should either be moved up as the 2nd choice keeper over Dudek, or be sold / loaned out to another club.
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Arrival – Jerzy Dudek

A Champions League-winning, Penalty Kick-saving hero as your second string GK… not bad at all. Dudek is however at that age when he must move on to clear the way for Castilla’s younger ‘keepers who are moving up. He was a great and clever acquisition though. He’s played decently in the few games that I’ve seen him. But maybe it’s time for him to make a move…
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Arrival – Javier Saviola
Let’s all admit it. Saviola was a trophy acquisition. But even for a trophy acquisition, he was a good quality acquisition. He has a history of being able to score goals as proven in his stints in Barcelona (early days) Sevilla and Monaco. But once again, he’s like Baptista. If he wants to stay in Madrid, it’s clear that he will have to accept a role in the bench: playing the local cup matches and appearing as a sub here and there to compensate for injuries or suspensions, but mostly as a ploy to waste time or a reliever when a match’s result has been guaranteed. Garbage minutes in other words.

Nevertheless, he’s scored some important goals and made some energetic appearances this past season. Where many have been happy to dismiss him as a bad signing or a flop, I prefer to look at Saviola as a man who is just unlucky to have landed in Madrid during a season when Raul has regained some of his old form. I haven’t read anyone write about it, but imagine this: what if along with RVN’s absence due to injury, Raul was unable to regain his old form or had gotten hurt? One of Saviola, Soldado or Baptista would have played that spot much more often…. And who knows what we might’ve gotten out of them?