Real Madrid: Total Overhaul?

Few football clubs have enjoyed prolonged glory like Spain’s Real Madrid. In fact, Real is considered one of the most prestigious clubs in the football world, and across all sports fields for that matter. Real achieved this acclaim in a different way than most other clubs, utilizing socios, or club members, who own and operate all facets of the franchise.

Founded in 1902, Real Madrid was estimated in 2019 to be worth 3.8 billion Euros as the second highest-earning football club in the world. For any football pundit, this information isn’t surprising. After all, in their 118 years of existence, Real Madrid lifted 33 domestic league titles, 19 Copa del Rey trophies, a remarkable 13 Champions League trophies, and 4 FIFA Club World Cup titles. Some of these wins stretch back over a century ago, like the club’s first Copa del Rey triumph in 1905.

Real has entertained the fans with some of the greatest athletes of all time, as well. Top goal scorers and creative stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul, Alfredo di Stefano, and Karim Benzema called Madrid home for years. And players like Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos have appeared in upwards of 500 football matches wearing the Real Madrid jersey.

Others, like Ronaldo- the Brazilian or original one as some call him, Luka Modríc, and Cristiano Ronaldo received their prestigious Ballon D’Or awards while on the team. In fact, to this day, Real Madrid’s head coach, Zinedine Zidane, is one of his generation’s greatest players, and won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award in 2002 while playing for the club he now leads.

 Future Plans

Most recently, Real Madrid have been associated with the superstar power of Cristiano Ronaldo. A dynamic and powerful goal scorer with an unstoppable drive, Ronaldo led a highly talented cast for nine years at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. The team flew high and attracted record number of fans to the stadium, remote viewership of games, and title wins, leading many to consider this era as Ronaldo’s.

However, in 2018 Ronaldo moved to Juventus to play in Italy’s Serie A. Despite this move, Real Madrid have not crumbled, though president Florentino Pérez seems likely to address the club at its foundational roots in an attempt to revitalize the team following their leader’s departure.

Meanwhile, in the US, NBA franchise the Golden State Warriors have also recently overhauled their mediocre team, drawing in star players as well as solid, vetted athletes. In fact, the Golden State Warriors have a near monopoly on NBA basketball odds in the US since winning the NBA Championship in 2015, 2016, and again in 2018. It seems Real Madrid is looking to rebuild its squad in a similar manner, though this change isn’t motivated by disappointing play. It’s preventative, if anything.

 Stadium & Roster

First, Pérez has shown interest in demolishing Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in order to begin construction on a ‘digital stadium of the future’. However, his comments have left some fans in mourning, and others confused. While many will mourn the loss of a stadium as well-loved as Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, most are waiting for the club to roll out its plans to understand what exactly a ‘digital stadium’ entails.

The stadium is set to have a capacity of 90,000. Other plans for the updated stadium include a wrap-around facade onto which images can be projected, retractable roofs that will cover all seating, and additional leisure and entertainment activities within, like shopping and a museum.

However, Perez also seems hellbent on revamping Real Madrid’s once-motley crew. While some franchises, like the Golden State Warriors, have to start from scratch to build a strong team, Madrid won’t face such challenges. While rebuilding a team is often undertaken for many top clubs that lose a star player, Real Madrid is full of star power.

Still, some athletes may be moving on. Rumor has it that in order to welcome in shining young recruits, Zidane may be letting go of players like James Rodriquez, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vasquez, and Mariano Diaz. Even important figures such as Marcelo and Luka Modric also face uncertain future despite historic wins with the club.

The above moves could be made in order to welcome new talent like Eduardo Camavinga, a 17-year-old midfielder with great promise. This comes after attempts to land Paul Pogba from Manchester United have fluctuated between cold and hoot. There is also interest in Raul Jiménez, a forward who may be able to pick up some of the pieces in attack in case Benzema leaves.

Best 11 Players in Spain’s Copa del Rey

The top teams were not involved in the latest round of the Copa del Rey as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia contested a new format of the Spanish Super Cup which was being played as a mini tournament in Saudi Arabia. That means that this week let other players shine. With no league matches over the weekend we will take a look at the best performing players in the Copa del Rey.

Goalkeeper: Alejandro Remiro- Real Sociedad

Alejandro Remiro made some good saves as Real Sociedad his team then went on to beat Ceuta by 4-0. But it was his initial saves early in the game that enabled the team to grow in confidence and win. Remiro is valued at 6m and has kept 3 clean sheets in the league so far.

Defender: Sergi Gomez- Sevilla

Sergi Gomez was a rock in defence for Sevilla and whilst the other two defenders by his side also played their part they got booked. But Gomez played a clean game and the 27 year old looked impressive as his side beat Escobedo 5-0.Gomez is 6.5m to buy.

Defender: Lucas Olaza- Celta Vigo

Celta Vigo overcame Merida 4-1 and Lucas Olaza held his own as left back. He made some brave challenges and even though he was part of a defence that conceded a goal, it’s harsh to be critical of his over all performance when his team wins so well.

Defender: Jesus Navas – Sevilla

A supremely gifted footballer and Jesus Navas put in a great display as Sevilla won their game 5-0. He kept a clean sheet and he assisted in the 5th goal to round up a great game for him. It’s worth noting that Navas normally plays in midfield for Sevilla, but they deployed him in defence for this cup game

Defender; Ander Capa- Athletico Bilbao

Ander Capa had an excellent game as his side won 4-0 and of course he kept a clean sheet. He is having a really good domestic season in La Liga too where he has scored 26 pts and can be bought for 5.5m which looks like a very decent price.

Midfielder: Maxime Gonalons- Granada

Maxime Gonalons had a very solid game in the middle of the field as his team Granada won 1-0 against Tamaraceite. Many pundits thought the score would be bigger, but Gonalons simply put his head down and knew this would be a tough physical battle and he left the pitch with no cautions against him. In La Liga he has only earned 3 pts so far but can be snapped up for a relatively cheap 5m.

Midfielder: Carbo Bellapart- Badalona

True you may not have heard of Carbo Bellapart who plays in the lower leagues for Badalona. But he played such an important part as his team stunned and knocked out La Liga team Getafe, by winning 1-0. He was assured and confident and local media praised him.

Midfielder: Matias Vargas- Espanyol

Espanyol faced a potential tricky tie against San Sebastian Reyes who talked up a good game before the match. They made Espanyol work hard for the win and Vargas distributed the ball well, as his side eventually won 2-0.

Striker: Soriano – Girona

Soriano scored two goals and helped his club overcome a resiliant round of football. Girona were playing in La Liga only a few years ago and they will want to get back, they played some good football in this cup game as they look to have a deep run. Soriano is 34 now and has been around for a while and the veteran striker would have been very happy to have scored a brace to help his team.

Striker: Asier Villalibre- Athletico Bilbao

Asier Villalibre had a fantastic game as he scored two goals in Athletico Bilbao’s 4-0  win away to Sestao. He was really on his game and perhaps is deserving more of La Liga game time. He certainly had his own personal match of the season with this performance.

Striker: Enes Unal -Valladolid

Enes Unal has been lightning up La Liga lately and he came through in the Copa del Rey also. He scored both goals as his side Valladolid beat Marbella 2-1. Even though they were the favourites to win the match finished at 1-1. But Unal was able to strike in extra time to get the winner. He is valued at 5.5m to bring into your team.

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Riqui Puig is the player Barcelona have been waiting for

He was only on the pitch for 35 minutes, thrown on as a second half substitute with the game already won by then, but that was enough for Riqui Pique to catch the eye of everyone inside Camp Nou on Wednesday night. Long hyped as Barcelona’s next best thing, this was a glimpse of the future for the Catalan club.

There was something Xavi-esque about the display Puig put in against Cultural Leonesa, particularly his run and chipped through ball for Barcelona’s fourth goal on the night. Sure, it might have been against third tier opposition, but it takes a lot of ability for a player, any player, never mind one 17 years old, to command the Camp Nou turf like Puig did.


Alongside Carles Alena, Barcelona fans were afforded a glimpse of what their team’s midfield of the future might look like. The Catalans have struggled to find players good enough to replace Andres Iniesta and Xavi, with Paulinho, Arturo Vidal, Arda Turan, Denis and Rafinha all given a shot. While Paulinho proved himself to be a decent option, and Vidal has played a lot in recent weeks, nobody has come close to filling the void.

Arthur has, so far, proved to be an astute signing, joining Barcelona from Gremio in the summer. Over time, it’s possible that he could form a midfield unit alongside Alena and Puig, who is still maturing. This could be the platform that sustains Barcelona in the post-Lionel Messi age.

What’s more, both Alena and Puig represent a recovery to the ways of old for Barcelona. The path from La Masia to the senior team has been walked by few in recent years, with the Catalan club instead splurging hundreds of millions on players in the transfer market.

Alena and Puig are both players forged from the Barcelona mould. They look like Barcelona players, they play like Barcelona players. Not since Thiago Alcantara has a midfielder looked like such a natural fit for the Catalan club. Now, Barca must ensure they don’t undervalue them and lose them to Bayern Munich.

Puig has been linked with a number of elite clubs, with Spurs the latest to be reported suitors for the teenager. Mauricio Pochettino took in a Barcelona B game during the international break, raising speculation that he could make a move for Puig, taking advantage of the contract regulations that leave Spanish sides at a disadvantage when it comes keeping teenagers.

Barcelona must do all they can to keep Puig. Not for years has a young prospect so clearly represented the future of the club. The era of Messi will one day come to an end and with the Argentinean now 31 Barca must start making plans. Puig is one of the players they should plan around. His 35-minute performance in the Copa del Rey demonstrated that.

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Messi salva la temporada


La temporada del Barça no se puede tildar de mala; pero, acostumbrado a ganar varios títulos cada año, esta campaña es obvio que ha sido peor que otras. No ha logrado la Liga y quedó eliminado en cuartos de final de la Champions; no obstante, ha salvado los muebles llevándose un título (quizá menor, pero no por ello despreciable): la Copa del Rey. Continue reading

A descorchar cava


El Barcelona ha puesto la guinda a su temporada al ganar la Copa del Rey. Esto supone el doblete azulgrana, que pone su broche ante un año siguiendo cosechando triunfos. Eso sí, no lo tuvo nada fácil porque el Sevilla le plantó cara desde el primer minuto, supo jugarle de tú a tú y el campeón tuvo que decidirse en una prórroga intensa.

El partido pintaba mal para el Barcelona, quien vio cómo a los 35 minutos se quedaba con un hombre menos tras la expulsión de Mascherano. El Sevilla apretó fuerte, pero no supo rematar cuando mejor jugó y más ocasiones tuvo. El Barcelona resistía, y el miedo se acrecentó cuando saltaron las alarmas con la lesión de Suárez. Aún quedaban muchos minutos en los que tuvo que jugar con 10, sin la Bota de Oro y resistiendo un aluvión de ocasiones sevillistas.

Pero eso no quiere decir que el Barcelona se replegara, ni mucho menos, porque ese no es su estilo. Los azulgranas tuvieron varias ocasiones peligrosas que no entraron gracias a las excelentes paradas de Sergio Rico. Además, al filo del minuto 90, el colegiado sacó la roja a Éver Banega. Esto equilibró el número de jugadores, pero el resultado no se movió; 0-0 y a la prórroga. Un empate sin goles que sorprendió, ya que podían haberse marcado varios tantos en cualquiera de las porterías.

El Sevilla acusó más los minutos adicionales, hay que recordar que venía de jugar una final europea 4 días antes, mientras que el Barcelona tuvo una semana completa de descanso. Jordi Alba adelantó a su equipo y a partir de ahí, casi la mitad de los jugadores de uno u otro equipo recibieron tarjeta amarilla. Carriço terminó expulsado y, a falta de un minuto para el pitido final, Neymar anotó la sentencia.

El Sevilla se marcha con la cabeza bien alta y eso se lo supo reconocer su afición. Por su parte, el Barcelona se alza con otro título más y enmarca un nuevo doblete en sus vitrinas.

Otro lío por la sede de la final


Como viene siendo habitual en las últimas ediciones de la Copa del Rey, hay lío a la vista. ¿Cuál será la sede para la final? En este ocasión, el partido a vida o muerte lo disputarán el Barcelona y el Sevilla. La fecha está fijada para el 21 de mayo, pero el escenario donde se juegue el trofeo aún está por decidir. ¿Posibles estadios? El lío viene precisamente por ahí, pero por los descartes. En el fútbol español son los equipos finalistas quienes sugieren un estadio, aunque también los propietarios de los recintos se pueden ofrecer. Posteriormente, la Federación negocia las propuestas recibidas de todos los clubes para organizarlo.

El Barça jugará su quinta final de Copa del Rey en apenas 6 años, con lo cual demuestra su poderío en la competición. En todas estas últimas ocasiones los azulgranas han propuesto el Bernabéu. No obstante, sus plegarias nunca se han cumplido ya que el Madrid siempre se lo ha negado. Pero, ¿por qué? Algunos hablan de miedo a que el eterno rival se proclame campeón en su propio terreno. Miedo a que suene el himno del Barça en el Bernabéu. Miedo a la fiesta azulgrana donde más duele. De ahí que siempre haya negado esta posibilidad alegando un hecho u otro por absurdo que pareciese (como la preparación de las terrazas de verano o las obras en el Bernabéu por un baño). Aún resuena en Chamartín aquella final del 97 y sus celebraciones…

Pero la pregunta es la siguiente: ¿el Bernabéu es la mejor opción para esta final? Geográficamente, Madrid es un punto intermedio y con excelentes comunicaciones entre Sevilla y Barcelona. Además, el número de socios en ambos equipos es elevado, por lo cual un recinto con gran capacidad sería un punto muy a favor para la venta de localidades. ¿Y no serviría el Calderón? Podría ser, pero el de los rojiblancos tiene 55.000 frente a las 80.000 de los merengues.

La afición azulgrana pide a gritos este estadio, de hecho el ex-presidente Joan Gaspar ha retado abiertamente a Florentino a que lo ofrezca o diga públicamente que no. No quiere que se ande con rodeos ni se esconda. El Sevilla todavía no se ha manifestado, pero a priori se muestra reacio al eterno plan B de Mestalla. Como representante neutro, del Bosque se ha manifestado y pedido generosidad al Madrid para acoger la final. Por tanto, la pelota ahora está en Chamartín y todos los focos se centran ahí. No está obligado a ceder su estadio, pero la presión se acrecienta tras tantas negativas.

La Copa de Munir


En poco más de un mes, Munir ha dado un impulso increíble a su carrera profesional. Quizá no se esté hablando demasiado de ello en los medios, pero por ahora es el máximo goleador de la Copa del Rey con 5 tantos en 5 partidos. Una muestra de que está sabiendo aprovechar los pocos minutos de los que dispone.

Y todo ello a pesar de que la temporada no empezó bien para el canterano, quien desaprovechó muchas ocasiones de oro. La lesión de Messi le prometía minutos, pero no supo responder con goles. Además, algún partido en los que el Barça se podía hinchar a marcar, como en la ida ante el Villanovense, Munir jugó todo el encuentro y acabó cuestionado porque apenas creó ocasiones para imponerse al 0-0 final.

En cambio, cuando el frío paraliza la Champions, el torneo del KO entra en ebullición. Y es ahora y en la Copa cuando Munir sí que está marcando. En San Mamés anotó el gol que abrió la lata tras una excelente jugada colectiva. Ya le anotó dos goles al Espanyol en octavos e hizo otro doblete en dieciseisavos. Y ya van cinco tantos que le colocan como máximo anotador de la competición. Lucho suele dar minutos a los que se lo merecen y los respeta en cada competición, por lo cual el canterano tiene una gran oportunidad para coronarse con este trofeo. Un premio inesperado pero con el que podría soñar.

Quizá le haya despertado el hecho de que la posible llegada de Nolito al club supondría una salida del Barça. Si el gaditano entrase este mercado de invierno sería un recambio de garantías para el triplete Messi, Suárez, Neymar; pero que irremediablemente abriría la puerta a otro de los delanteros. Sandro y Munir son los que más opciones tendrían de marcharse. Está claro que el jugador de origen marroquí no quiere irse del Barcelona, pero estos goles en Copa implican dos cosas: ganar puntos a la hora de ser el elegido para quedarse y despertar el interés de otros clubes por hacerse con sus servicios.


Munir es una gran promesa con gran proyección e incluso ha llegado a debutar con Del Bosque. Los goles parece que ya empiezan a llegar, ahora que va ganando confianza debe asentarse si quiere triunfar. La duda es saber si los seguirá marcando con los azulgranas o vistiendo otra elástica.