Real Madrid must match Barcelona's spending or risk falling further behind
For so many years, Spanish giants, Barcelona were the model of consistency when it came to bringing in players from the club's academy to become first team. Names such as Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique graduated from the La Masia academy but in recent years, the club has changed its philosophy as they aim to maintain a stronghold on European football.
Since 2006, no team has won more Champions League titles than the Blaugrana’s 4 triumphs. Compare that to their bitter rivals, Real Madrid who it has to be said have been successful in the past three years, there seems like a change of guard this season.
Madrid are 15 points behind their rivals and look miles behind the Catalans. Despite winning the league and Champions League title last year, Los Blancos seem to have taken two steps back, whereas Barcelona are looking stronger than ever.
When Real won the trophies last campaign, manager, Zinedine Zidane was heralded as a managerial messiah, with his man management, tactical prowess, calmness and rotation policy. The likes of Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez were key players who came in periodically from the bench to change the fortunes of the club. Both players have since left the club, as well as Pepe, the Portuguese defender.
The exits have affected the structure, quality and performances of the team as they have struggled to match the performances of last season. Names such as Jesus Vallejo, Borja Mayoral and Dani Ceballos have not stepped up when it matters most and it means that Zidane is under pressure, despite his success at the club.
Club talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo is starting to decline while the likes of Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema have not upped the ante when it matters most. Barcelona have just signed Phillippe Coutinho for a club record £142m fee, which is a huge statement of intent and Madrid must match it.
There has been talk of Harry Kane, David de Gea and Eden Hazard being the subject of interest of the European champions. When a team has so much success, there is the obvious tendency to become complacent. Real Madrid must spend big to remind people why they are the biggest team in world football, and the recent 0-3 loss at home to Barcelona in the League showed a widening gap between both clubs.
Madrid don’t seem like top dogs in the transfer market as they lost out on Paul Pogba to Manchester United while Kylian Mbappe opted to go to PSG instead. A number of clubs in Europe are threatening the hold of Madrid as highlighted in the Champions League earlier this season when Tottenham beat them.
The way things were barely five months ago, it is shocking to see how the tables have quickly turned. For a team that prides itself on the knowledge that they are the biggest team in world football, they should be doing more and the transfer market.