This also happened to Real Madrid with Cristiano and Zidane


Johan Cruyff used to say that a winning team are obliged to make two signings at the end of a season so that hungry players can enter the club to promote competitiveness.

You have to be as bold as Johan or a clairvoyant to look at a team in a cycle and resist the temptation to attempt to get the maximum out of players who have shown symptoms of being at the beginning of their decline.

Each of Real Madrid’s three successive Champions League titles was followed by a summer in which they decided to postpone strengthening measures that appeared necessary just months earlier, particularly in attack.

That’s why Kylian Mbappe escaped them in the summer or 2017, as they failed to convince his father and opted against selling one of their BBC trio and why they didn’t move for Mariano until late this year, set on it being Neymar or nobody.

One of the problems for Real Madrid is that they haven’t found their place in a market that has become very hostile.

Now it isn’t enough ‘just’ to have sufficient money to bring in a superstar, you need the superstar to want to come and his club be willing to sell.

Being quoted 250 million euros for Harry Kane or Mohamed Salah is the equivalent to saying ‘not for sale, unless you’re crazy’.

At Real, you can assume that they may be willing to be that crazy because you begin to suspect that the poor form in front of goal isn’t just bad luck, after reaching five games in a row without finding the back of the net.


No, it isn’t just a lack of luck or a lack of accuracy.

It is the absence of a quality finisher, a goalscorer, a speciality that for good reason, is one of the most expensive commodities on the market.

In any case, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane in their ranks, Madrid finished 17 points off the pace last season and lost to Leganes in the Copa del Rey after being unable to beat Fuenlabrada and Numancia at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

If the same script is repeated without that key duo then, it is worth considering that the causes of the problem are not just with a No. 9 and the man in the dugout.

The biggest share of responsibility goes to quality players well below their usual level, being unable to find the competitive drive in La Liga, distressed by a lack of leadership.

On Saturday, Julen Lopetegui taking off Marco Asensio at 2-0 down with half an hour remaining is a clear example of that.