Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo To Real Madrid in WR Big

£80 million = €93.9 million = $130.5 million = C. Ronaldo to Real Madrid. Manchester United accepted this world record bid this morning from Real Madrid, and a deal with the player will be confirmed in the next few days. After 2 years of former Real President Ramón Calderón promising to bring CR7 to the Bernabeu, it has taken Perez just under 2 weeks. In one week, Kaká and C. Ronaldo are both confirmed to be joining Los Galácticos. I’m ecstatic! Who’s next? Already, there are reports of a combination of David Villa and perhaps Raúl Albiol coming. Maicon also wants out of Inter…could we swoop in and get him? After Perez getting C. Ronaldo and Kaká, the two past FIFA World Players of the Year, in a matter of less than a full work week, anything’s possible. This is already shaping up to be a great summer transfer wire for Madridistas everywhere!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Here’s the 23-man roster that is heading to South Africa today for the Confederations Cup. Not a lot of surprises. Maurice Edu, Frankie Hejduk and Brian Ching were omitted from the roster due to injuries, while Pablo Mastroeni, out of favor, also will not make the trip to South Africa.

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Tim Howard (Everton, England), Luis Robles (Kaiserslautern, Germany)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes, France), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (Midtjylland, Denmark), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, Belgium), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock, Germany), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England), Marvell Wynne (Toronto)

Midfielders: Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany), Ricardo Clark (Houston), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus, Denmark), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca, Mexico)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Xerez, Spain), Conor Casey (Colorado), Charlie Davies (Hammarby, Sweden), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles)

I think this is the first-team lineup I would want to see:


I think my first choice bench players would be DeMerit, Bornstein or Wynne on defense, Beasley and Clark in the midfield, and Davies up front. But, we shall see what Bob Bradley puts on the field for the first match against Italy on June 14th.

Kaká to Real!

It has been reported in several media outlets all over the world that Kaká will officially be announced as the newest Real Madrid signing this evening. He has apparently passed a physical in Brazil and will speak at a press conference in Brazil tonight. He will not be officially introduced in Madrid until June 30, after Brazil has finished at the Confederations Cup.

The first Galactico signing of the new Galactico 2.0 era under new Real prez Florentino Perez, Kaká will definitely fit in well into Pellegrini’s 4-4-2 system. Now that this signing is apparently out of the way, Real can focus on some of the other big signings that are rumored, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery, Xabi Alonso, David Villa and David Silva.

Also, Negredo has been re-bought by Real from Almeria for the bargain price of €5 million. He was sold to Almeria last year with an option to re-buy, and with Negredo finishing 6th in La Liga with scoring last season with 19 goals, it’s great to have him back. While it’s rumored that he is back with Los Galacticos only to be sold off again, possibly in a swap with Xabi Alonso of Liverpool, this 23-year old product of the Real Madrid system should be reconsidered as a major part of the plans, as he has a chance to become a major star.

But, for now, ¡Bienvenidos, Kaká!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Return of the Galacticos

Well, the presidency of Florentino Perez has officially begun (again), and Madridistas are looking forward to seeing what is in store for Los Blancos. Already, the team has announced Manuel Pellegrini, who coached Villareal, as the team’s new coach. Jorge Valdano is the new sporting director and Zinedine Zidane was hired as an advisor to the president.

Perez has been very aggressive in the past in landing the best players in the world and selling millions of Real kits. Players like Ronaldo, Figo, Zidane and Beckham came in with lots of flair, but also each won at least a La Liga title for Real. Who is Perez thinking of bringing in this time? The list is long and dynamic: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ribery, Kaká, David Villa, David Silva, Ibrahimovic, Iniesta, possibly Cazorla, Xabi Alonso, Mata, Tevez, Negredo, Albiol and Maicón. This is a ton of players, but if he gets even half of them this team could really take flight. Ronaldo, Kaká and Ribery are clearly Perez’s top 3 targets, and chances are he can land at least 2 of them. Already there are reports that Kaká will be introduced on Thursday, that Xabi Alonso has already agreed personal terms, and that Ronaldo will eventually come towards the end of the summer. Also, with Valencia’s financial problems and AC Milan’s players reportedly being very upset at the departure of former coach Carlo Ancelotti, maybe some of their players will be ripe for the picking. Beckham in a return, perhaps? Alexandre Pato, the 19-year-old Brazilian striker, who I think is one of the great young strikers in the world? Zambrotta or Nesta on defense? It’s not outside the realm of possibility.

But, to get these players, a lot of the current players will be transferred out. Rumor has it that Perez is willing to let all of the Dutch players save Huntelaar leave (Robben, van Nistelrooy, Sneijder, Drenthe, Van der Vaart). Huntelaar may also leave, as he has been rumored (as told on GolTV) to be headed to Man U in exchange for Carlos Tevez. Perez is also targeting many Spanish players to come in. With La Furia Roja at the top of the world rankings, many of the starters of the #1 team in the world could soon put on the Real Madrid white shirt. Raul, the golden boy of Madrid and the captain, may be relegated to the bench. It is been made clear that the only players guaranteed of staying in the starting 11 next season are Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Lass Diarra, Gonzalo Higuain and Pepe. This would mean that the mentioned Dutch players as well as Javi García, Heinze, Saviola, Mahamadou Diarra, Marcelo, De La Red, Guti, Salgado, Metzelder and even Gago.

In spite of the glitz and glamor that Perez brings to the table, it is clear what the team needs. They need tons of defense. The defense this year let Real down big time, forcing Iker Casillas to make numerous saves. Casillas is, in my mind, the best keeper in the world, but with such a lagging defense, he gets hung out to dry many times. Defense should be key, and I think players like Philip Lahm, Vidic, Clichy, Fabio Grosso, and Maicón should be brought in to shore up the defense. In the midfield, with Lass or Xabi Alonso in the fold, we should definitely find a center attack mid that can direct the offense like Zidane used to do. That player is most likely Kaká. Ronaldo would be brought in as the replacement for Beckham on the right wing, which has been sorely missed since his departure two years ago.

Up front, I love Ruud and Raul and Higuain. But it’s clear that with David Villa or Ibrahimovic possibly coming in, and Huntelaar and Saviola already in the fold, some of them will have to go. Ruud, Saviola and Huntelaar would probably get clipped, with the captain being sent to the bench. Needless to say, Raul and Higuain scored a ton this year, Ruud won the Pichichi in 2007-08, and Huntelaar was hot, scoring 9 goals in his first 8 games.

As for who to keep and get rid of on the current squad, here’s what I think will happen:

Keep – Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Raul, Higuain, Pepe, Lass

50/50 – Metzelder, Marcelo, de la Red, Huntelaar, Miguel Torres, Guti

Loan Out – Gago, Drenthe

Sell/Leave – Salgado, Cannavaro, Saviola, van Nistelrooy, Heinze, Parejo, Faubert (back to West Ham), Van der Vaart, Javi Garcia, Sneijder

Also, here’s my list of who I think should be on Perez’s list to bring in: Kaká, Maicón, Lahm, Ronaldo or Ribery, David Villa, Alexandre Pato, Albiol, Vidic, Fabio Grosso or Mertesacker, Xabi Alonso, David Silva. Again, defense is the key. We shore up our defense, everything else will fall into place.

Almost assuredly, this will be a summer full of transfers for Real Madrid. Lots of players in, lots of players out. Will Perez rebuild Los Galacticos to try and conquer Europe next season? Will he get every player on his list? Will he build a capable defense, something that has been missing the past few seasons? Will he bring in the players necessary to win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and Champions League? Only time will tell.