Thursday, June 28, 2007

The All-Spanish Update

Will History Repeats Itself After Real Sack Capello?

Shock and horror. Real Madrid decides to get rid of the title winning Italian coach, Fabio Capello, despite the prestigious club winning the coveted Spanish La Liga title for the first time in 4 years.

For a club with it's stature and history, being barren for 4 whole years is not a good reading, especially being pipped by Catalan rivals, Barcelona, for the last 2 years.

I might not watch the La Liga matches as religiously as I watch Liverpool but I do read about them on various websites and watches the highlight show on TV. 4 weeks before Real Madrid were actually crowned the champion, I already knew they were going to win it.

Written in the stars? Last gasp winners? Perhaps even because it was Beckham's swan-song? But to some extent, it was Capello who breathe new breath into the once glorious club, stabilised the rocking ship and ultimately getting to the holy grail.

Not exactly shocking but more baffled by the decision of the Real Madrid president, Ramon Calderon, to sack the manager after only one season at the club.

You have to ask whether have they learned anything from the past decade. Underachieving, massive ego problems, player power and cliques within the 'Galaticos'. Just when it all finally seemed to settle down, Mr. Calderon decides to drop a bombshell that will rock the ship again.

Seeing the news actually brought back comparison with their former manager, Vicente Del Bosque, who was sacked back in the 2002/03 season despite winning the league and reaching the semi finals of the Champions League.

From then on, Real Madrid's road to glory went pear shaped and like a ship tossed to and fro in the stormy seas, they struggled to steady it. Changing 5 managers in 4 years tells a story about the stability of the club, that they never manage to settle down with someone.

Different coaches brought in different styles of play and the way each manager works are totally different from the rest. Therefore I believe it is important to stick with the same guy for the job for as long as possible. Winning the league for them is a good enough job, so why the sacking?

Unless they have someone better in place?

Arsenal fans, I can hear your heart rate going up. Because Arsene Wenger is one of the managers in line for the job but I myself don't feel good at all, with Rafa Benitez constantly linked with a move to the Spanish capital.

Bernd Schuster, the German manager of the high-flying Getafe, is also heavily linked with a move to the Santiago Bernebéu.

Whether this decision proves to be a success or not is still to be seen. Capello's handling of the Beckham affair makes him look rather silly while his authoritarian style might be going against the principle of Real Madrid and it's superstars.

What's next for Real Madrid? It's going to be worrying for them because the image that they portray to the public is that they are constantly looking to chop and change things and the pressure of the job is going to be so great that it might scare some potential managers off.

To me, a bad move. Whoever they'll appoint for next season, they're going to have a tough time readjusting to the new style brought in and new life under the coach.

With Barcelona already signaling the intent to up the ante with the signing of Thierry Henry and perhaps, Eric Abidal & Cristian Chivu, Real Madrid needs to build a consistent team with a leader that will be there throughout, not for a short period of time.

Liverpool Sign Mikel San Jose & Nikolay Mikhailov

Another 2 youngsters into the academy squad. Not much known about them but I take it as an intent from Rafa Benitez that he is here to stay for as long as possible, to oversee the development of these young gems.

San Jose is a youngster from Athletico Bilbao and plays in defence as well as in the anchor role. Seems like we're having absolutely no trouble in that position, eh? Keeping a collection of defensive midfielders is always good I guess...

Mikhailov is from Levski Sofia and is a Bulgarian goalkeeper, son of the head of Bulgarian FA. A talented goalkeeper in training, his attitude seemed to be the problem many people have highlighted.

He has got Champions League and international football experience under his belt despite only celebrating his 19th birthday today.

Performance wise, he has certainly not set the world alight with some careless mistakes like the one where he failed to control a backpass and the ball ending up in the back of his own net. Other notorious incidents including conceding 5 goals against the Scots *cough cough*.

Whatever it is, we shall welcome these kids with open arms and hopefully, they'll turn out to be something we expect them to be.

No comments: