This could either go very, very well for Madrid, or incredibly badly. Either way, they’ll make their money, so what do those Franco-loving fascists care? (Come now, ek, you promised you’d keep your Barca-supporting side out of this . . . come on . . be objective . . . you can do it . . .)

Oh, alright, fine.

So Sir Alex has finally sold “the mob” the “virus” that is Cristiano Ronaldo (his words, not mine).  He’s a good signing for Real, as no-one can deny that the boy is talented, and that with him and Robben in the same team, set up with Kaka in the centre as an attacking mid and Higuain as the lone striker, the team represents a more than potent attacking force.

Higuain, by the way, is a phenomenal player who doesn’t get enough credit at Real, and watch for this trend to continue, with Perez filling the dressing room with massive egos once more in Galacticos Part Two (Madridistas go Merchandising!). He is the next Raul for the club, though, with his dogged determination and clinical finishing.

The problems for Madrid, however, are going to come at the back. I remain unconvinced by both Pepe and Ramos in terms of sheer ability to defend. They both seem to show all the composure of a small, fluffy animal caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic (that is if small, fluffy animals are prone to throw themselves into tackles and over-commit on a regular basis . . .). The Diarras (L and M) will have to step up in the midfield and take control as ruthlessly efficient defensive mids if this system is to work at all. Madrid will also keenly feel the loss of Cannavaro, a cool head at the back with bags of experience, and Metzelder is simply no substitute (though he is decent).

More important than any of that, though, is going to be the issue that Superpippo pointed out – what makes teams composed of great players truly great is not just the players’ talents, but the way they play together, the way they combine. I just don’t see Madrid being able to pull off the understanding of, say, to pull names out of a hat at complete random, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Eto’o and Co. These guys have been playing with each other for years (in some cases a decade, since the youth squad), and you just can’t buy that kind of coordination.

Finally, a small note to Joan Laporta: PAY YAYA TOURE AS MUCH MONEY AS HE WANTS, AND DO IT QUICKLY, BEFORE HIS GREEDY AGENT DECIDES TO ACCEPT OFFERS FROM OTHER SIDES. We need Yaya – he allows Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Henry, Eto’o and Alves all to play.

– el kapitan

Ronnie happy!!

The “virus”, pictured here clapping in encouragement as Nani,
under his tutelage, executes a dive perfectly.

Picture courtesy AFP/Andrew Yates
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