Four months ago Real Madrid won the Champions League.
Two months later the club began rebuilding the squad that made it the best in Europe. In came James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos, and Keylor Navas for a combined price of ~$148 million. Out went Angel Di Maria, Xabi Alonso, Nuri Sahin, and Alvaro Morata.
Those moves left Real full of attacking star power but lacking in midfield muscle. Almost every current midfielder and forward in the Real squad would be the attacking focal point on another team. When taken together, though, the result is a team severely lacking balance.
The 2014-2015 campaign is off to a rough start. The team has lost two straight games in the league, letting in six goals in the process.
There are problems everywhere.
James doesn’t have a position in the team’s formation. He played as a central attacking midfielder at the World Cup, where he led the tournament in goals scored, but Real’s 4-3-3 isn’t conducive to that role. He played on the wing at Monaco in 2013, but the wide positions in Madrid are already occupied by Ronaldo and Bale.
In an interview with ESPNFC, Real president Florentino Perez had this strange defence of signing James: “I do not know how James plays. But he had a great World Cup, and we wanted him here.”
After a $US148 million summer, it already looks as if the club will have to dip into the transfer market to get someone who can win the ball in the midfield.
Things are equally shaky off the field. There’s a conspiracy theory that Perez signed James only because another one of his companies won a nearly $US1 billion contract to build roads in Colombia. Elsewhere, club legend Zinedine Zidane might be in trouble for coaching Real’s B team without the proper credentials.
Real has too much talent and money to stay down long. The question is whether it can get things together before it’s too late to meet the team’s own stratospheric expectations.
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