Spain has, since as long as I can remember, been a hotbed of passions, anger, good looking actresses and football. Count out the occasional disruption and we find that to be true in the last 2 decades at least. Spain has been a country whose football has been dominated by two major clubs – Real Madrid from Madrid and Barcelona from Catalunya. Both have had great teams; Real had the dream team of Galacticos, what else would you call a team that had had Raul, Zidane, Carlos, Ronaldo(Brazilian) Beckham and the likes. And the Barcelona team which consisted of Eto’o, Deco, Ronaldinho, Gudjohnsen and others. Both teams have had notable successes, like Madrid in 2002, when they lifted the Champions League or Barcelona who lifted it twice in 2006 and 2009.
I keep reading columns on various forums about the players Madrid must buy and wonder how can people not understand that keeping up such a buying spree is not a financially viable option. I don’t say that other big clubs don’t buy, but clubs like United, Barcelona and even at times Chelsea, bank on promising youngsters and develop them.
We know that the situation Madrid have built for themselves is not one that can be continued forever. Real only have two legends that they can claim are home-grown, one the iconic Raul and the other club captain, Iker Casillas. It is time to look at what Madrid have out in terms of loan and in their own academy at Castilla -
Pedro Leon (on loan to Getafe) - The young midfielder cum right winger has a temper and has had tempestuous relations with all his clubs in the past. Having his best time at Getafe, Leon was bought by Madrid but failed to make an impression and amidst disciplinary issues, was loaned back to Getafe. After injury concerns, Leon has emerged stronger for Getafe, with improved understanding of the game and gaining a yard in pace. Leon could be a crucial squad played for Los Merengues come next season. He is creative and has a good shooting foot. His left foot is not bad either. He could provide ample cover for someone like Di Maria.
Nuri Sahin (on loan to Borussia Dortmund) - The player has had a heartbreak relation with Madrid to say the least. Poised for greatness when signed on from Dortmund, Nuri failed to impress. That and a combination of injuries has invited pity from the Madrid boss, Mourinho. And after an unsuccessful loan spell at Liverpool, he has been loaned to Dortmund. Sahin is a rare breed of midfielders. He is not held back by affiliation to a particular role and has incredible creative vision. Indeed, he is one of the highest rated midfielders in Dortmund, which is no mean feat. He, like Leon, could be a crucial squad player. And I believe he has enough talent to break into the first team. If not, he could be ample cover for Alonso and Ozil, such is his versatility.
Alvaro Morata – This is a young man who has been making waves since the start of the season. H0e has performed when picked and undoubtedly his finest moment came in El Clasico. He befuddled the Barca defence and made great runs. The boy showed against the Catalans that he has a big game temperament. He has great upper body strength and commitment to lost causes. Similar to Raul in his love for the club and creating chances for the others, Morata doesn’t shirk back from work either. He did a great job in hassling Busquets all through the Clasico. He would be most effective I think as a support striker, especially in big matches. He would not only provide the creativity, but also distort play of the opposing teams. A bit of work on his finishing and he could replace Karim Benzema, rumoured to leave at the end of the season.
Jose Rodriguez – A centre midfielder by trade, Rodriguez is a lot like Alonso. With an eye for the long pass, he can dictate play from deep. He can also play higher up the pitch and provides brilliant options with his awareness to a run and dedication to be free. One of those rare breed of players who can understand the situation just a bit quicker as highlighted in his goal during the Copa Del Ray, Jose is highly rated by Mourinho. Mourinho has gone on record saying that Rodriguez could be one of the best, and the last player he made such prediction about was Lampard. Rodriguez too is a goal scoring midfielder and must be kept at the Bernabeau and integrated into the first team.
Casemiro (on loan from Sao Paulo FC) – The reason that Rodriguez may leave Madrid is that this young Brazilian midfielder is on loan from Sao Paulo. Casemiro is the best advertisement for the perfect midfielder. He can make good tackles and is equally adept at attacking. He is a part of the Brazil Under-20 team and played a crucial role in helping them win the South American Youth championship. With Zidane as his idol, he is touted as one for the future by the Madrid hierarchy. While his position of choice is almost unavailable now, it does not mean that he cannot, in the future, fit in the Khedira mould. With similar playing styles, if Casemiro does make it into that position, he could be as good as the German if not better.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are that of the author and not the site.Published 19 Mar 2013, 18:06 IST