Real Madrid, usual Champions League winners, La Liga winners and all around dominating force are currently in a downwards spiral. They have lost Cristiano Ronaldo season who is considered to be either the best or second best player in the world prior to the commencement of the season and have recently sacked their manager Julen Lopetegui due to a run of poor results, in particular, a 5-2 drubbing from Barcelona in the El Classico. All this points to a fall from grace for the club but below we’ll explain why although this has been a shaky start to the season, it is something that we should not get used to.
Let’s start with the big elephant in the room, Ronaldo leaving. Ronaldo laving has created what is essentially a 40 goal a year whole in the squad. This is not something that gets fixed overnight and can take a long time to find the replacement for this gap. What Real Madrid are doing is trying to fix this number through statistics. They are looking for a group of players who can step up and fill the number of goals required to get back to the level they were once at. This is why Real are being linked with every major goal scorer trying to improve their current figure. Luckily for them, they have the prestige and money that is needed to obtain almost any player in the world. Ronaldo leaving does create issues for the club but after overcoming some growing pains, this will be something that will be in their rear view mirror.
Looking at their squad, they still bolster a team that can compete at an elite level. Defensively, they have an outstanding back 4, led by Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane. Both are World Cup winners with Ramos entering the twilight of his career while Varane is beginning to be in the conversation for best centre-half in the world. Their keeper in Courtois is a quality shot stopper and they have depth in all positions. In the midfield, they have arguably the best duo in the world in Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. Both make their club and country tick and are a step ahead of the competition in what they do. Even outside of these two players in the heart of the team, there is great depth with Casemrio protecting the back 4 and players like Isco being able to create in the front third. It is when we get to their offense that there is a slight stagger. Their most recent La Liga line up of Asensio, Benzema and Bale in their front 3 is still quite above average but is missing the star power of Ronaldo. This is where patience comes into play. Bale and Benzema are proven goal scorers and will get you goals and assists as time goes on but they are both not the future of the team. The future of the team lies with Young Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior. These two young players are starting to develop into world-class superstars to carry Real Madrid into the future. Although the fans want the results now, and rightly so, they do need to allow time for these two players to develop, get minutes and start creating and scoring goals. This is where Real Madrid fans do not help themselves as with the turmoil of the club and the pressure internal and external around the team is not a positive environment for players to develop. If you recall Neymar’s first days at Barcelona as a younger player were not to the standard people expected, after a couple of seasons, he developed into a 200 million dollar superstar. This is the same with the current Real Madrid youth, they just don’t have the luxury of a Messi or Ronaldo to fall back on currently.
One of the last negative points we’ll address is the lack of a world-class manager at the club. The lack of a manager of an elite level does impact a club more than people realize. This is why the manager is often the perceived scapegoat. A player is only as good as the manager and the tactics allow him to be. Even a player of the standard of say Angel Di Maria to Manchester United can be a flop if the system and the manager in place do not fit the player’s profile. This is where we see a lot of big money transfers go to waste but that is an article for another day. For Real, a manger that develops youth is required much more than a win now manager. This is why it looks like the club is pursing Mauricio Pochettino at such an aggressive rate as he is renowned for developing the youth at a club while still achieving results. If the team can do win games while still seeing development from their youth players, then it can be considered a successful season.
Fortunately, a saving grace for Real Madrid is they have a large transfer budget at their disposal. They will be able to pick up some proven goal scores and players during the next transfer window to keep steady and qualify for Champions League for the next season while considering this season a rebuilding one. If they are able to successfully quality for this, develop their youth into 15+ a year goal scorers and tie down a manager for an extended period, you will quickly see this year get put far behind them as they challenge for all titles they are known for. If the fans can wait 12 months is another question but they have to weigh up long terms greatness in exchange for a rocky few months.