Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Purge

One of the rumors that swirled endlessly prior to Florentino's second coming at the Bernabeu which wasn't as talked about as explicitly as the return of the Galacticos (more of a subtext) was the purge of the Dutch contingent. Last season we had Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Rafael Van Der Vaart, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Royston Drenthe. Today, of the 7, only 3 remain with an exit being sought for the unwanted Van Der Vaart.
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Huntelaar: He was 'only a goalscorer'... This is not enough for Real Madrid.
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Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
This guy was never going to succeed at the Bernabeu despite his natural goal-scoring ability... Because that was all he could do (which was still not at par with Ruud Van Horseface who at 33 has other abilities like basic dribbling, the occasional lethal pass, and a very basic skill for a '9'; holding the ball up). He was a panic buy after Calderon's embarrassing summer of '08 and a Mijatovic favorite. He really seemed destined to fail at Madrid. Bought at 20m (a fair price I suppose for a good striker these days)... After 'depreciation', sold at 15m to Milan with 7 going to Ajax: proof that Ramon Calderon and Mijatovic are galacticos... Of stupidity (never mind the Champions League registration gaffe).
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Wesley Sneijder is would be a shoo-in for the '10' shirt for most clubs... Sadly, Real Madrid is not one of them
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Wesley Sneijder
He started his Real Madrid career with a bang: scoring a winning goal in the opener against Atletico 2 seasons ago and going on a tear in his first games at Madrid. He played so well so as to earn the '10' shirt. A horror injury last preseason however resulted in an incredible drop in form. People also say that his failed marriage also played a big part in this. His anonymous preseason form also didn't help, especially when compared to that of the returning Esteban 'El Pirata' Granero who seemed like a direct replacement for him. At 27m euros, I'd have to say another season like last would have made him an Andriy Shevchenko-like flop. He would've been a useful squad player but not a critical one, especially with El Pirata in the fold. We paid 27m for him and were hoping to sell for 20m (what he was probably really worth when we bought him in the first place)... Sold to Inter for 15m. Once again a fair price in my view and reflective of the previous administration's ineptitude.
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Arjen Robben: An 36m Speed Demon who is as good at terrorizing fulbacks as he is at frustrating team doctors and therapists.
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Arjen Robben
The last of the dying breed of pure wingers. His electrifying pace and dribbling ability is only matched by his propensity to get injured. At 36m euros, he was clearly over-priced... But Calderon had no choice after losing so much face for his transfer market failures and blunders. The arrival of Kaka and CR96 meant that he was headed to the bench as a supersub. It was a role he seemed to be agreeable to with his statements made to the public. His preseason form had also been awesome and had given many Madridistas (including this one) excitement at the depth of the squad and the thought of watching him coming on as a sub to shred a tired opposing defense. It was also very clear that he was in Pellegrini's plans. It's very sad however that he was not in Perez, Valdano and Pardeza's. 25m to Bayern is too little. With the form he was in and Bayern's desperation for a team upgrade (and to stick it to them for the way they publicly lambasted us), we could've and should've squeezed them for 30m at least... Or a player swap of VDV & Robben for Ribery. Instead, we await for Scarface's arrival next season while losing our squad depth. Perhaps it didn't make financial sense to keep a player at that salary level as backup... but this leaves many (including me) worried that his loss would come back to haunt us one day.
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Rafael Van Der Vaart
An attacking midfielder with a knack for goals from Ajax's academy with a Spanish mother: he seemed made for Madrid. Seemed. When they failed to get Cristiano last summer, they really thought they had scored a major coup: a 'crack' attacking midfielder who scored goals with backheels for 15m! Trouble is, Real Madrid-calibre attacking midfielders are Balon D' Or and Champions League-winning types... Not Bundesliga midtable 'stars'. He was found out not long after. With the transfer window closed, it seems we are 'stuck' with him and he with us. He may be an unhappy camper now, but he does have a World Cup place with the Oranje to fight for. As for us, perhaps he will turn out to be a winter market source of income. Perhaps he can find his form and win a place in the team. Perhaps he is really a galactico who just suffered from a massive case of 'Calderonitis' last season. Perhaps.
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Ruud Van Nistelrooy
He is the hero of our 30th La Liga title. I hated him when he was Man U but love him now that he's with us. When God made the '9', he probably had Ruud Van Gol in mind. He is 33 now and coming off a horrific injury that kept him out of almost the entire 08-09 season. The irony of it all is that it was probably this injury that turned buyers off to him which saved his career in Madrid. His contract will be up at the end of this season and we are almost certain that it won't be renewed... To pave the way for Alvaro Negredo's return. I'm quite confident though that the trick the fates have played on Florentino to prevent his sale will come good for Madrid. It is always useful to have one of the greatest goalscorers of all time in your squad ready to come on for a miracle tap-in to win you tight matches against a stubborn opponent. Welcome back to the squad Ruud Van Horseface :)
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Royston Drenthe
The jury is still out if he's the next Edgar Davids, the future Dutch Ronaldinho or the next loser to be touted as the next-(fill in name of legendary player). There is no doubt that all his managers have been in awe of his talent: from Schuster, to Juande to Pellegrini. We all await what happens to him. God forbid that he turns into a player I'm afraid he's beginning to resemble: Guti: unmatched talent, questionable attitude, weak mental strength and ultimately a dissappointingly mediocre player. He is young and there is reason to hope that he may actually be a good player... the preseason gave us a glimmer of hope.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Mac, this is Granit from the Offside. Really like your blog and im hoping your would write more often.. Im a frequent reader so just wanted to let you know that you have another big fan here..

    take care!
    Hala Madrid :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the support and encouragement Granit! Will try to write more consistently! :)

    ReplyDelete