Real Madrid: The post-Mourinho era

bosox4283

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Ciao, Mourinho. The Ancelotti era has now begun.
 
Real Madrid have signed Isco this off-season, adding one of Spain's best young players to the roster (and, perhaps, one of the world's best young players, as Isco won the Golden Boy Award in 2012). For 30 million euros, it is a brilliant signing for the future of the club.
 
In the last few days, Real Madrid has also been linked to Illarramendi, the 23-year-old midfielder from Real Sociedad. Illarramendi had a break-out campaign last year, helping Real Sociedad qualify for a Champions League position and then performing at a very high level for Spain's U-21 European Championship team that won the title.
 
In another move to skew younger and more Spanish, Real Madrid bought back the 21-year-old defender Daniel Carvajal from Leverkusen. 
 
With these moves, it appears like Callejon is headed out. Napoles seems positioned to sign him for 10 million euros or so. And, after multiple seasons fighting with Benzema for playing time, it appears like Higuian is looking for a new challenge. Arsenal is currently rumored to land him.
 
I think Madrid may dump some players, if they can. Albiol is very likely to leave, whereas Kaka and Coentrao may go if someone is willing to pay for them (and pay their high salaries).
 
The team could end up with a starting line-up that looks like this:
 
---------------Casillas---------------
Carvajal-Ramos-Varane-Marcelo
---Xabi Alonso---Illarramendi---
-----Isco---Ozil----Ronaldo-----
---------------Benzema---------------
 
Bench: Modric, Di Maria, Khedira, Pepe
 
 
 
 

Schnerres

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Isco for Di Maria is at least a possibility, although i doubt that Isco has already the stamina to start 50+ matches per season. So a change of Isco and Di Maria seems fitting. But to prefer Illara compared to Khedira is borderline ridiculous. Yes, Khedira was one of the guys who were loved by Mourinho, but he earned his starts with great performances. I must confess that i don´t know anything about Illara, but he can´t be better than Sami. If Illara is that good, he may replace Xabi Alonso, who turns 32 this november and has to stay fresh for Brazil, too.
 

bosox4283

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Schnerres said:
Isco for Di Maria is at least a possibility, although i doubt that Isco has already the stamina to start 50+ matches per season. So a change of Isco and Di Maria seems fitting. But to prefer Illara compared to Khedira is borderline ridiculous. Yes, Khedira was one of the guys who were loved by Mourinho, but he earned his starts with great performances. I must confess that i don´t know anything about Illara, but he can´t be better than Sami. If Illara is that good, he may replace Xabi Alonso, who turns 32 this november and has to stay fresh for Brazil, too.
 
It seems like Illara may already have his opportunity to substitute Xabi: AS is reporting today that Xabi will be sidelined until September (or maybe it was October). 
 

bosox4283

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Real Madrid played a friendly against Lyon yesterday. While the team has only been working with Ancelotti for about two weeks, I am scratching my head a bit with his formation. Apparently, Ancelotti wants to play a 4-3-2-1. 
 
Given the change in system and the number of new players, I really wonder how the team will adapt and how it will succeed in implementing Ancelloti's vision. More than anything, I wonder how Ozil will do moving out of the middle in the 4-2-3-1, where he was tasked with moving the offense and leading the attack.
 
---------------Casillas---------------
Carvajal-Ramos-Varane-Marcelo
---Khedira---Xabi Alonso---Ozil---
--------Isco-------Ronaldo--------
---------------Benzema---------------
 
In order off the bench: Modric, di Maria, Illarramendi, Kaka
 

triniSox

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bosox4283 said:
Real Madrid played a friendly against Lyon yesterday. While the team has only been working with Ancelotti for about two weeks, I am scratching my head a bit with his formation. Apparently, Ancelotti wants to play a 4-3-2-1. 
 
Given the change in system and the number of new players, I really wonder how the team will adapt and how it will succeed in implementing Ancelloti's vision. More than anything, I wonder how Ozil will do moving out of the middle in the 4-2-3-1, where he was tasked with moving the offense and leading the attack.
 
---------------Casillas---------------
Carvajal-Ramos-Varane-Marcelo
---Khedira---Xabi Alonso---Ozil---
--------Isco-------Ronaldo--------
---------------Benzema---------------
 
In order off the bench: Modric, di Maria, Illarramendi, Kaka
This - that'd be a bad use of Ozil IMO.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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triniSox said:
This - that'd be a bad use of Ozil IMO.
 
I didn't see the friendly and haven't read of Ancelotti's plans.  But perhaps that diagram is a little deceiptive, the midfielders are all deployed more or less centrally, a la 4-3-3, and Ozil is the most forward and central of them.  If the actual formation looks a lot more like the following, then it makes more sense.  Even so, once of Ozil's strengths is his ability to drift and find space and that might be curtailed when playing further back like this.
 
Carvajal - Ramos - Varane - Marcelo
--------Khedira------Alonzo-----------
------------------Ozil-------------------
-----Isco-----------------Ronaldo-----
---------------Benzema----------------
 

bosox4283

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
I didn't see the friendly and haven't read of Ancelotti's plans.  But perhaps that diagram is a little deceiptive, the midfielders are all deployed more or less centrally, a la 4-3-3, and Ozil is the most forward and central of them.  If the actual formation looks a lot more like the following, then it makes more sense.  Even so, once of Ozil's strengths is his ability to drift and find space and that might be curtailed when playing further back like this.
 
Carvajal - Ramos - Varane - Marcelo
--------Khedira------Alonzo-----------
------------------Ozil-------------------
-----Isco-----------------Ronaldo-----
---------------Benzema----------------
 
Thanks. I admit I am unfamiliar with the 4-3-2-1, and I only read match reports. This formation makes more sense to me, but I suppose it is yet to be seen how Ancelotti will use Ozil.  
 
Ozil had an interview today/yesterday in which he said, in Spanish, ""La banda derecha no es mi posición favorita, porque mi posición ideal es la creador de juego". That loosely translates to "The right wing is not my first position, because my ideal position is the play maker/creator."
 

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From everything I've read, Ozil and Isco were flipped from those positions yesterday. Madrid lined up like this:

------------Lopez
Carvajal--Pepe--Nacho--Cheryshev
------Isco--Illarra--di Maria
--------Ozil--Ronaldo
----------Benzema

I think that makes more sense in regards to Ozil, whose true strength lies in his movement, and so would be wasted playing deep in a crowded midfield.

Ronaldo, though, is bizarrely misused playing behind the striker. Ronaldo is a goalscorer, a finisher, not a playmaker, and moving him away from goal is ludicrous. He's scored 201 goals in 199 matches for Madrid!

In Mourinho's 4-2-3-1, Ronaldo was only playing in a band of three behind the striker on paper. In reality, he was usually playing on level as far up the field as Benzema/Higuain, and fairly centrally considering he was always cutting inside to shoot. Any average position diagram from one of Madrid's matches showed this. Passing has never been Ronaldo's strongest attribute to say the least, so moving him away from goal where he'll need to shoot less and pass more (and defend more, also not his strong suit) isnt getting the best out of him.

The Christmas Tree is Ancelotti's preferred formation dating back to his days with Milan, but it failed at PSG and he ultimately was forced to change formation there. It's only preseason, but shoehorning players into positions that dont suit them doesnt bode well.
 

teddykgb

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It's sort of forced on them by signing Isco and presumably promising to play him, he never made sense given the attacking options already in place.  They're trying to squeeze isco, ozil, ronaldo, and di maria all into the same squad and none of them are playing striker.  If you look at the lineup you just posted as more of a 4-3-3 than a christmas tree, then ronaldo is pretty freed up to do what he does without any defensive responsibility, which suits him, but Isco and di Maria are playing very very different roles than they're used to.  I agree with you that the xmas tree or 4-3-3 really don't make a ton of sense given the options available to Carlo, but they've sort of created this imbalance in the roster.  Seems like one of di Maria or Ozil will need to make way, or Isco is going to be more of a sub until one of them does.
 

Schnerres

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di Maria was never on Özils level and i doubt he will ever be.
 
He (di Maria) might start many matches, of course. But there is not enough spots on the teams offense. Ideally, it would look something like this:
Lopez - Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo - Khedira, Alonso- Isco, Özil, Ronaldo - Benzema.
 
 
But from the past, we know that this exact team (i´m not even including Lopez) will probably start...8 times the whole season.
 

NHbeau

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Snakebauer007 said:
Alonso and Bale have no similarity in position or role
 You're right, they both aren't midfielders at all. And lord knows Bale couldn't play in a quasi holding midfield position like Alonso does. I'm sure we could debate the strengths and weakness's of Bale at the "CDM" role in Madrid all day but the fact is Alonso isn't exactly a prototypical CDM like a Vidal, Fabergas or a Yaya and seems to get on just fine. I have Zero doubt Bale could do the same being rolled through the squad like Modric is or just take Xabi's spot and thrive. He has the skill to pitch in on the defense (LB coming up through the YA) and to break a match wide open with his attacking skill.  That's assuming they don't swoop in on Xabi Prieto like I keep reading and just flat out replace Alonso and still add Bale. Either way they have to many midfielders and not enough minutes.
 
JayMags71 said:
Nor has Alonso ever played for Chelsea.
 That's my bad meant to say "back with Mourinho" who is back at Chelsea.
 

sdiaz1

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NHbeau said:
 You're right, they both aren't midfielders at all. And lord knows Bale couldn't play in a quasi holding midfield position like Alonso does. I'm sure we could debate the strengths and weakness's of Bale at the "CDM" role in Madrid all day but the fact is Alonso isn't exactly a prototypical CDM like a Vidal, Fabergas or a Yaya and seems to get on just fine. I have Zero doubt Bale could do the same being rolled through the squad like Modric is or just take Xabi's spot and thrive. He has the skill to pitch in on the defense (LB coming up through the YA) and to break a match wide open with his attacking skill.  That's assuming they don't swoop in on Xabi Prieto like I keep reading and just flat out replace Alonso and still add Bale. Either way they have to many midfielders and not enough minutes.
 
 That's my bad meant to say "back with Mourinho" who is back at Chelsea.
 
A few things:
First, midfielder is a term used to describe players of such a wide range of qualities, skills, and styles that to say "well they both have MF listed to their name so why can't they play they same position" is a ludicrous statement to make. While we are at it, why not propose that Real Madrid play Di Maria in the holding role?
Second: You are right that Alonso is not the prototypical CDM like a Macherano, Vidal or Mackele, but he is the textbook definition of the modern Spanish holding midfielder (think Busquets, Senna - kind of, De la Pena, Javi Martinez, and Illara) guys who primary responsibility is not to just break up the oppositions build up play, but to an extra creative outlet to feed the attackers from behind.
Third: How on Earth does Cesc qualify as a prototypical CDM?
Fourth: Xabi Prieto is a fine footballer, but beyond being Basque and named Xabi he would be a bad replacement for Alonso. He plays in more advanced positions and is more used to playing in a more creative and less combative role in Sociedad.
 
Could Bale be pretty good in a holding midfield role - sure, he is a super talented freak and could probably play well anywhere on the pitch. But you don't pay 85 million pounds (which I don't believe he is anywhere close to being worth) for a guy who is truly world class to then put him where he won't succeed the most.
 

Schnerres

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I just don´t see a reason in playing Bale as a defensive midfielder. He has proven to be a great offensive talent. Offensive players are harder to get, more expensive and therefore he will play as an offensive player. I don´t know if someone of you plays football. Offensive, creative players are always in demand. Every coach loves it when he has offensive players to choose from. He played as an more defensive minded player earlier in his career, but has proven to being able to play in a more offensive role. So he will stick there until he is moved back at 35 or retires before that.
 
Real has more of a need at left wing. They have Özil in the middle, Ronaldo on the right. They can also switch sides from time-to-time. In the defensive roles, there are Khedira, Alonso, Illara. Then there´s Isco, Modric, Kaka, who can play multiple roles.

Playing Bale as defensive midfielder would be a waste. You need tacklers, passers, ball-handlers, creators in that role. But you can´t dribble much and especially you cannot overrun guys and bring in a cross or you won´t see many actions like stop the ball(1)-dribbling(2)-overrun someone(3)-shoot from 20m(4) like he can on the wings. In centre, he will face an opponent every 5m. Ask Xabi.
 

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sdiaz1 said:
 
A few things:
First, midfielder is a term used to describe players of such a wide range of qualities, skills, and styles that to say "well they both have MF listed to their name so why can't they play they same position" is a ludicrous statement to make. While we are at it, why not propose that Real Madrid play Di Maria in the holding role?
Second: You are right that Alonso is not the prototypical CDM like a Macherano, Vidal or Mackele, but he is the textbook definition of the modern Spanish holding midfielder (think Busquets, Senna - kind of, De la Pena, Javi Martinez, and Illara) guys who primary responsibility is not to just break up the oppositions build up play, but to an extra creative outlet to feed the attackers from behind.
Third: How on Earth does Cesc qualify as a prototypical CDM?
Fourth: Xabi Prieto is a fine footballer, but beyond being Basque and named Xabi he would be a bad replacement for Alonso. He plays in more advanced positions and is more used to playing in a more creative and less combative role in Sociedad.
 
Could Bale be pretty good in a holding midfield role - sure, he is a super talented freak and could probably play well anywhere on the pitch. But you don't pay 85 million pounds (which I don't believe he is anywhere close to being worth) for a guy who is truly world class to then put him where he won't succeed the most.
 I'll just bow out now, I keep butchering what I am trying to say (vis a vis Meant Busquets not Fabergas) and I'm not suggesting Bale necessarily be a 1 for 1 swap of Alonso. Simply Alonso seems the most likely to move based on age, an in house replacement (start Modric), and his ties to EPL/Mourninho. Di Maria could be moved also just seems to me Alonso would make the most sense unless Tottenham wants Di Maria back in the transfer. I was spitballing about who would get moved to free up the roster spot and the cash to get Bale more than anything.  
 

bosox4283

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The Real Madrid thread seemed like the most appropriate place to share this thought.
 
In this offseason, Barcelona bought Neymar and Real Madrid has adquired Isco, Illara, and (most likely) Bale. In short, it has been a good offseason for these two teams, as they have signed some of the world's best young players. Good for them.
 
For the rest of La Liga, though, it has been a disaster. If you take a look at last year's top teams in the league, each team has sold its best talent:
 
3rd - Atletico - Falcao (Monaco, 50M+ EUR)
4th - Real Sociedad - Illara (Real Madrid 30M+ EUR)
5th - Valencia - Soldado (Tottenham, 30M+ EUR)
6th - Malaga - Isco (Real Madrid, 30M+ EUR)
7th - Betis - Benat (Athletic Bilbao, 8M EUR) - Arguably, Athletic had money to spend after Javi Martinez left for Bayern and a hole to fill with Llorente to Juventus
8th - Rayo Vallecano - They were prohibited from playing in European competitions due to financial troubles
9th - Sevilla - Navas (City, 20M EUR), Negredo (City, 25M EUR)
 
So, the next seven best teams all had to sell their best players, top scorers, and biggest stars.
 
Two questions: (1) Are all leagues this unbalanced and (2) does this trend indicate a bad future for La Liga?
 

sdiaz1

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To answer question 1, La Liga has always been more of the unbalanced leagues in Europe. However if fans of other top were honest, the would see that there is no balance anywhere; in the 20 seaons of the EPL only five teams have lifted the trophy and (Man U 13 times, Arsenal 3 times the last in 2004, Chelsea 3 time winners, and Blackburn way back in 95), over in Italy only three teams have won the league since Roma did in 2001, and the league de jour of American football fans last season was won by a 25 point gap and that same team has gone ahead and bought all of their top competitions best players.
 
And to answer question two; I would say that while all of these sales will sadly lower the high quality of play in La Liga in the short term. If things are done properly at the club and federation level then all of this money could be used to stabilize the humungous debts that many Spanish teams have accumulated and help all of the clubs keep the incredible talent that it seems they never cease to produce. Of course we are talking about Spain, so that will probably not happen.  
 

Infield Infidel

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One can compare them to other top-heavy leagues. However, before the Bale transfer, Barca and Real have spent 35m EUR more this summer than the other 18 teams in La Liga combined. With Bale that'd be at least 135m EUR, and that's before Real sign Siqueira from Grenada for 10-15m. Those two are in another stratosphere. 
 
The other teams can reinvest as wisely as possible and still not make a dent.
 

sdiaz1

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Oh yeah, no doubt. La Liga will remain a duopoly even if the other clubs and the federation get their shit together. The problem is with so many teams on the brink of administration, player wages being unpaid, and clubs drowning in debts owed - the focus should not be on how can we get the league to the point that someone can compete with big two but rather how can we get back to the point where the other teams are financially viable and able to compete in Europe. It is possible that with Spain's government at least talking the talk in regards to forcing the clubs to negotiate their tv deals jointly under the federation (granted Real and Barca will likely take a disproportionate amount of the pie) that the lesser clubs could start to actually thrive once again.
 

triniSox

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NHbeau said:
Bale signed, but at the cost of Ozil to Arsenal. My mind boggles at that. Kaka back to Italy.
My mind boggles at that as well. As a Barcelona fan, it makes me happy. Straight up Ozil > Bale in my opinion. And you know for sure he works well with Ronaldo. Way to blow up your team for Bale, Perez.
 
Saw an interesting tweet:
 
 
Rafael Hernández ‏@RafaelH117
13h
Pérez signed Beckham (Bale) instead of Ronaldinho (Neymar) and sold Makelele (Ozil). History repeats itself, we know how it ends.
https://twitter.com/RafaelH117/status/374344107533303808
 

bosox4283

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
 
I didn't see the friendly and haven't read of Ancelotti's plans.  But perhaps that diagram is a little deceiptive, the midfielders are all deployed more or less centrally, a la 4-3-3, and Ozil is the most forward and central of them.  If the actual formation looks a lot more like the following, then it makes more sense.  Even so, once of Ozil's strengths is his ability to drift and find space and that might be curtailed when playing further back like this.
 
Carvajal - Ramos - Varane - Marcelo
--------Khedira------Alonzo-----------
------------------Ozil-------------------
-----Isco-----------------Ronaldo-----
---------------Benzema----------------
 
So, Isco replaces Ozil, and Bale takes Isco's place.
 
Carvajal - Ramos - Pepe - Marcelo
--------Modric------Alonso-----------
------------------Isco-------------------
-----Bale-----------------Ronaldo-----
---------------Benzema----------------
 
Bench: Khedira, Casemiro, Jese, Morata, Di Maria, Illara, Pepe, Arbeloa
 
The big loser is Illara, as the arrival of Bale and the emergence of Casemiro as a strong option pushes him toward the end of the bench. I suppose, though, that Real Madrid views Illara as a long-term solution for Alonso.
 

bosox4283

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From the Spanish press, the Ozil move has really surprised and even upset the Real Madrid players. Ramos said, "If I had the ability to choose, Ozil would have stayed." Ronaldo is quoted as saying that he is very angry about the move. Even Isco, who in a sense forced out Ozil, expressed his bewilderment. I do not expect the team to implode, but it is not often that a the whole team decries a transfer. The players clearly recognize how special of a talent he is, so now we will see how his absence changes RM's play.
 

twhan1978

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While caveating this by acknowledging that Ozil is a very talented player, I wonder whether there isn't more sense to moving him than is immediately apparent.
 
Madrid now has 4 of the most highly talented, creative and athletic attacking midfielders/wingers in the world (Ronaldo, Bale, di Maria and Isco), and, with the possible exception of Isco, of whom I have seen little, they each generally prefer working from the outside in.  Madrid also has several midfielders who can play deep and make incisive long passes (Modric, Alonso and Khedira) to those wingers.  Is it possible that Ancelotti's idea is to, similar to ManU last year, bypass the middle of the field and play almost entirely on the counter or down the wings?  It could make sense. 
 
First, against most teams in Spain other than Barca, Madrid is likely to have the majority of possession, even if they aren't a team that thrives on possessing the ball for long periods of time (and, admittedly, will thrive even less without Ozil).  Those teams are likely to pack it in, denying space in the hole, where Ozil plays, and allowing it on the outside, where each of Ronaldo, Bale, di Maria and Isco plays.  Rather than trying to attack down a packed middle, Madrid would be better served to allow their wingers to attack from the outside, pump balls into the box, and to rely on their deeper midfielders to make key passes in the middle of the field.  To some extent, this is how Bayern excelled last year, no?
 
Second, against Barca, Madrid wasn't going to win the possession battle in the middle of the field anyways.  Instead, if Madrid beats Barca it is likely to do so by counterattacking with speed against Barca's advanced fullbacks.  This will depend not on an advanced playmaker like Ozil, but on the quality of the first pass from deep in the midfield to streaking wingers.  With Modric, Alonso and Khedira, Madrid is likely to have quality first passes and, when it gets them, they will be to extremely fast and skilled wingers played into a LOT of space behind Barca's fullbacks.
 
Again, not saying that Ozil wasn't valuable to Madrid - he's too talented not to be useful - but that he could be less of a fit for their overall scheme than Bale.
 

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Ozil has been the key cog in Madrid's counter attacking game for years. You don't usually counter with Xabi Alonso just booting it up the field to Ronaldo. You counter by Ozil drifting and finding space to receive the first ball and then turning and quickly playing the killer ball. And nobody is better at this than him IMO.
 

twhan1978

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You're right on both counts: Ozil has played a key role in Madrid's counterattacking the last few years and a strong counterattack doesn't occur because a deeplying midfielder boots the ball upfield.  But neither of those points detracts from my argument.
 
Anyone who claims that Xabi Alonso just boots the ball upfield is doing him a major, and undeserved, disservice.  Alonso is a great passer of the ball, frequently at distance.  There is a big difference between that and booting the ball upfield.
 
And while Ozil has been important to Madrid's counterattack, that doesn't mean that the team can't evolve to become better without him.  Ozil has many skills, including tremendous patience and spatial understanding, but he's isn't tremendously fast.  Perhaps playing without him will allow Madrid to up the already high tempo of its counter and, by doing so, make it more effective. 
 

triniSox

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Ozil has been tremendously effective for Real Madrid the last few years. He's the most prolific assist man in Europe and had a wonderful understanding with Ronaldo. Madrid had gotten to a point where they were better than Barca in El Clasicos. Regarding Ozil's skillset,
 
I'd disagree vehemently that he's not suited to rapid counterattack play. Ozil, in space, on the counterattack, was deadly in the past few seasons because of his tremendous ability to determine and execute incisive passes in these situations.
 
Madrid may have more midfield options now but option 1A should have always been centered around Ronaldo + Ozil. And he's only 24. Sorry but if I'm in charge, I build around Ozil. (I do agree that on the counterattack, Bale has the chance to be tremendous in Madrid given his pace and the attention that will be paid to Ronaldo.)
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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twhan1978 said:
You're right on both counts: Ozil has played a key role in Madrid's counterattacking the last few years and a strong counterattack doesn't occur because a deeplying midfielder boots the ball upfield.  But neither of those points detracts from my argument.
 
Anyone who claims that Xabi Alonso just boots the ball upfield is doing him a major, and undeserved, disservice.  Alonso is a great passer of the ball, frequently at distance.  There is a big difference between that and booting the ball upfield.
 
And while Ozil has been important to Madrid's counterattack, that doesn't mean that the team can't evolve to become better without him.  Ozil has many skills, including tremendous patience and spatial understanding, but he's isn't tremendously fast.  Perhaps playing without him will allow Madrid to up the already high tempo of its counter and, by doing so, make it more effective. 
 
I wasn't knocking Xabi Alonso, just pointing out that the key cog in the counter-attack is usually the player that receives the first ball on a clearance and then quickly hits a second ball incisively into space.
 
Regardless, I am skeptical of any argument that Madrid benefits by selling their second-best player.  My admittedly cynical opinion is that Florentino Perez has a huge ego, that he wanted to remake the team in a way that put the Mourinho era in the past, and that he decided that he could best do that by not just bringing in Bale but by replacing Ozil - who really was Mourinho's guy - with Isco.  Ancellotti is just happy to have the job and (as discussed above) Ozil may not fit perfectly in his "Christmas tree" formation anyway if the front three are Benzema, Bale, and Ronaldo.
 
Ultimately, I think the reaction of the players at Madrid and elsewhere - which boils down to "Wtf, why would we sell one of the best players on the planet?" - is pretty telling. 
 

twhan1978

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
 
I wasn't knocking Xabi Alonso, just pointing out that the key cog in the counter-attack is usually the player that receives the first ball on a clearance and then quickly hits a second ball incisively into space.
 
Regardless, I am skeptical of any argument that Madrid benefits by selling their second-best player.  My admittedly cynical opinion is that Florentino Perez has a huge ego, that he wanted to remake the team in a way that put the Mourinho era in the past, and that he decided that he could best do that by not just bringing in Bale but by replacing Ozil - who really was Mourinho's guy - with Isco.  Ancellotti is just happy to have the job and (as discussed above) Ozil may not fit perfectly in his "Christmas tree" formation anyway if the front three are Benzema, Bale, and Ronaldo.
 
Ultimately, I think the reaction of the players at Madrid and elsewhere - which boils down to "Wtf, why would we sell one of the best players on the planet?" - is pretty telling. 
I actually don't strongly disagree with any of this. I just happen to think that there is a not far-fetched argument that selling Ozil fits into Madrid's on-field strategy pretty well, even if the likely result is that they have some trouble breaking down packed-in defenses as a result of it.
 
Plus, as an Arsenal fan that really doesn't like any Galactico-like team-building strategy, I'm thrilled by the sale.
 

Snakebauer007

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Apr 26, 2008
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twhan1978 said:
I actually don't strongly disagree with any of this. I just happen to think that there is a not far-fetched argument that selling Ozil fits into Madrid's on-field strategy pretty well, even if the likely result is that they have some trouble breaking down packed-in defenses as a result of it.
 
Plus, as an Arsenal fan that really doesn't like any Galactico-like team-building strategy, I'm thrilled by the sale.
It makes no difference that ozil isn't fast(most of the game's best 10s were and are not fast), but the ball is always faster than the man, and he moves the ball quicker and more incisive than almost anyone on the planet, downgrade the position with a playmaker who doesn't quite have his gifts, and it is definitely going to hurt Real's attack. 
 

sdiaz1

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Apr 17, 2013
57
To add to chorous, this entire sale smells of the same old Florentino bullshit. Spend the entire summer chasing an overly pricey luxury and allow your top playmaker to wallow and feel unimportant. Madrid have a plethora of explosive offensive threats in the final third (Ronaldo, Isco, Jese, Di Maria) and as of Sunday only two number 10's in Modric and Ozil. So what does Florentino do? He buys a lesser version of Cristiano (still a suprmeley awesome player) and sells the younger and in all honesty more skillfull (at least in the creation department - work rate and finishing may go to Modric) creative central player. All of this because he refused to bump Ozil up to 8 million euros a season as he planned to spend almost 200 million to secure the services of Bale.
 
Bale does make Madrid more explosive, more physical, he gives us width, speed, and good finishing. He is a bigger, more handsome, Welshier, and more complete version of Angel Di Maria. But without Ozil we are a worse team, and the slight uprgrade from Di Maria to Bale (are they both going to play with Christiano and Benzema at the same time?) does not come close to making up the difference that his absence will create.
 
This was done simply because Perez saw how soccer is booming with people under the age of 30 in the US, and how every white kid in the states who likes soccer owns a Messi kit. He wants a piece of the growing US market and knows that Bale will make los Blancos more maketable here. Fuck him, I will be Madrid supporter till I die, but he really makes it hard.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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sdiaz1 said:
To add to chorous, this entire sale smells of the same old Florentino bullshit. Spend the entire summer chasing an overly pricey luxury and allow your top playmaker to wallow and feel unimportant. Madrid have a plethora of explosive offensive threats in the final third (Ronaldo, Isco, Jese, Di Maria) and as of Sunday only two number 10's in Modric and Ozil. So what does Florentino do? He buys a lesser version of Cristiano (still a suprmeley awesome player) and sells the younger and in all honesty more skillfull (at least in the creation department - work rate and finishing may go to Modric) creative central player. All of this because he refused to bump Ozil up to 8 million euros a season as he planned to spend almost 200 million to secure the services of Bale.
 
Bale does make Madrid more explosive, more physical, he gives us width, speed, and good finishing. He is a bigger, more handsome, Welshier, and more complete version of Angel Di Maria. But without Ozil we are a worse team, and the slight uprgrade from Di Maria to Bale (are they both going to play with Christiano and Benzema at the same time?) does not come close to making up the difference that his absence will create.
Put differently:

"Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?"
 

sachmoney

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I don't buy the marketability in the US argument for a second.
 
Bale barely speaks comprehensible English, and I'm not sure how much more "marketable" he makes Madrid (I'd probably say they're less marketable now). The EPL is the dominant league here* and now every match is readily watchable. It's a losing strategy to try to compete with that product just by bringing in an English speaking player, IMO. What's more is that he's Welsh, and Wales will almost assuredly not make the World Cup. You know, the game's biggest competition. Meanwhile, Özil is going to star for the German National Team which always does pretty well in that insanely large competition. Having a star player in the World Cup is way more important than having a guy who can speak the same language, IMO. I don't think this was a ploy to be more marketable in the States so much as to get the player of the year from England and parade it like it is some huge victory.
 
Meanwhile, they let their young superstar go. Arsenal is selling his kits like hotcakes. I'm quite certain that Bale kit sales aren't anywhere as near as popular right now. This isn't to say that that is wholly the end all be all of marketability or success of a deal. I just think Fiorentino dropped the ball from many different angles. That's not to say that Bale isn't a fine player either because he most certainly is. And that's not to say that Real can't win the league now, they certainly can. I just don't see any side of this that really makes sense from Real's POV though.
 
I ordered my Özil kit last night. Thank you for him. 
 
*at least amongst the English first language folks...La Liga is more popular for the Spanish speaking gauchos, though I doubt they care about having an English speaking Welshman on their side
 

Titans Bastard

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sachmoney said:
*at least amongst the English first language folks...La Liga is more popular for the Spanish speaking gauchos, though I doubt they care about having an English speaking Welshman on their side
 
 
Agreed on the marketability argument.  The interests of US soccer fans are so balkanized across countries, leagues, and clubs that no one player signed by a foreign club is going to move the needle much.  The overall pie of US soccer fandom isn't even that big, anyway.
 
In any case, I would be shocked if La Liga is more popular than Liga MX among Spanish speakers in the US.
 

soxfan121

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
Put differently:

"Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?"
 
Jumping off of this....isn't the Ozil replacement Modric? Sure, Ozil is better than Modric but Modric can do many of the same things. If he develops good chemistry with Ronaldo and Bale, there will be plenty of through and killer balls to go around. 
 
Thus, I'm not sure they've lost the entire engine but they have downgraded a bit on horsepower and added an incredibly bright left blinker. 
 

Snakebauer007

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Apr 26, 2008
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Modric played more as one of the pivots last season, Isco is the natural replacement for Ozil, they tried to fit them in together but his natural spot Is being the playmaker
 

teddykgb

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Yeah, Modric just isn't as "active" or fluid as Ozil....it's tough to explain but it's really not a knock on Modric, there just aren't many players like Ozil in the world.  Isco is the more natural replacement, but the truth of the matter is it may be a combo of Isco (for the running and playmaking) and Modric (some of the passing range) that looks to fill the gap.
 

veritas

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It wouldn't surprise me to see Bale playing behind the striker sometimes.  He did it last year for Spurs effectively, and Madrid has a pretty decent LW already.
 
Obviously he'd play the position much differently than Ozil, coming deep to get the ball and then running at the defense.  But with Ronaldo, Benzema, Di Maria, etc to worry about, that's a terrifying thought for defenses.
 
Also, as others mentioned, Ancelotti may use more of a 4-3-2-1 formation with no number 10.