Once hailed the next Roberto Baggio in his ACF Fiorentina playing days, Stevan Jovetić is a striker able to play all across the front line. His incredible playmaking skills and pace allows him to thrive as a secondary striker and has warranted many ‘big-money’ moves to clubs like Manchester City. However at 27 he his approaching the prime age for a footballer and is finding his career has stagnated. With only 5 appearances for Inter Milan in the first half of the 2016-2017 season, with no goals or assists, Inter manager Stefano Pioli had clearly lost faith in the attacker.
Since then, Jovetić has moved to Sevilla on loan and has had a lightning start to life with Jorge Sampaoli, scoring 3 and assisting 1 goal in 4 appearances; even managing to score against Real Madrid in 2 different competitions, the Copa del Rey and La Liga. So what has changed to convert the barren run to a purple patch?
Looking back to 2013, Jovetić moved to Manchester City on the back of scoring 26 goals in the Serie A season. However, an injury hit 2 years, restricting him to just 18 starts, forced him out to Roberto Mancini’s Inter Milan. Just as the striker seemed to be rediscovering his form, Mancini left the club and Jovetić spent the rest of the 2016 on the bench with Ivan Perišić and Gabriel Barbosa pushing him further down the pecking order.
In short, his recent managers did not understand the talented trequartista. In Man City, Sergio Kun Aguero took the striker position with Jesús Navas and Raheem Sterling playing wingers. Jovetić was not able to play his natural game with such a rigid formation; he was not suited to the low intensity pressing game and was isolated in the middle with Sterling and Navas only running the channels. It was the same story in Inter Milan with only the personnel changing. Pioli and Frank De Boer both preferred Mauro Icardi as the striker and relegating Jovetić to a supporting winger or expecting him to fill the back-up ‘lone striker’ role.
However Jorge Sampaoli knows exactly what he will get from the Montenegrin. His fast- attacking and pressing game perfectly suits Jovetić, allowing the striker to play his natural playmaking and poaching game. Sampaoli chooses to play a 4-4-2 when the team needs to defend. Jovetić is the first line of pressing, which allows him to use his pace quickly to close down defenders but conserve energy to attack by having no or minimal responsibilities to track back. Going forward the 4 front players are given freedom to unleash a lethal counter-attack, with Vitolo and Samir Nasri running behind the defence and Wissam Ben Yedder and Jovetić, playing off each other, waiting in the middle to pounce on a cross or a loose ball. The dynamism visible between these 4, and Franco Vazquez when he plays, is clear to see and analyzing the goal scored by Jovetić against Espanyol recently shows the devastating effect it can have.
Jovetić is undoubtedly a talented goal scorer and is in a rich vein of form. He seems to fit right in as the last piece of the jigsaw in Sampaoli’s masterplan. But, is this what Sevilla require to push Real Madrid for the title?
Spanish Football Expert
Out of all the exciting projects happening in Spanish football at the moment, with Sevilla’s possible league-winning campaign, Villarreal’s Champions League investments and Celta Vigo’s Copa del Rey smash, I’d have to say my personal favourite is perhaps the hipster’s choice.
Las Palmas were promoted from the Segunda Division in 2015, and were in trouble from the start of their 2015/2016 league campaign, with only four wins after the first half of the season. By February, however, things began to click. The Gran Canaria side made a Leicester-like comeback and won 7 of their last 13 games which secured the team 11th place in the final table.
Los Amarillos managed to hold on to their key players in the summer despite interest from big clubs. Experienced goalkeeper Javi Varas was linked with several English clubs, star winger Jonathan Viera was rumoured to make a move to bigger Spanish clubs, and Mauricio Lemos was, according to safe sources, on his way to Barcelona a few days before the window closed. These moves fell through, which, combined with top quality signing Kevin-Prince Boateng from Schalke 04, made Las Palmas one of the teams to watch when the 2016/2017 season started.
The way the club is acting, both on and off the pitch, shows they’re not just some regular small club trying too hard. They show with their every move they’re here to stay, and I think they’re a club we’ll see in the Spanish top flight for a long time.
Las Palmas find themselves in the same place they finished last season, 11th, but there’s certainly a lot of opportunities to improve in the final half of the season. With just 7 points up to 6th placed Real Sociedad, the club is in the running for European football next year, and they’ve really given themselves the greatest possible chance of reaching that with a 10/10 transfer window. The loans of former Real Madrid winger Jesé Rodriguez from Paris Saint-Germain and Croatian mega talent Alen Halilovic from Hamburg have given the side just the right amount of creative edge they need in order to reach European football this fall.
Now, listen to this possible starting eleven. Javi Varas – Michel Macedo, Mauricio Lemos, Pedro Bigas, Helder Lopes – Roque Mesa, Vicente Gomez – Jonathan Viera, Alen Halilovic, Kevin-Prince Boateng – Jesé Rodriguez. This, with the likes of Nabil el Zhar, Marko Livaja and Momo right there filling in for the main men, sounds to me like a side ready to fight for European football.
Vamos Las Palmas!
New Year, new opportunities, they say. 2017 will be a year full of interesting developments, memories and moments of magic. The start of the year is the perfect time to set expectations and predict the future, as a lot can happen in the Spanish top flight in a calendar year. Here are some of the things I’ll be watching the closest during the next 12 months.
Valencia, how does the future look?
Los Che find themselves in 17th place in the La Liga table with just 13 points as the club sees its second manager leave the club this season. After just 90 days as Valencia boss, Cesare Prandelli left the job with a 28% win record in 10 games. With players performing way below expectations, and complete chaos off the pitch, the side is looking at a possible future in the Segunda Division, which would be a disaster for a club who have been in the top of Spanish and European football for a long time. I choose to look at a possible relegation in a positive way. A relegation could mean the club gets a chance to rebuild everything. New players, new directors and managers. If they stay up, however, it would mean the club has a chance of starting over, while still remaining in the highest division. This would need sane, proper people who are interested in the well-being of Valencia Club de Fútbol (editor note: similar to Hamburg SV in Germany). These are hard to find in football these days, but they sure as hell cannot be found in the club today. Can they turn it around in 2017? Hopefully.
Neymar, can he return to what he once was?
In the fall of 2015, Neymar was probably the best player in the world. In Leo Messi’s absence he led the Barcelona side and provided the team with everything Messi usually does. But as 2016 turned up, the Brazilian star didn’t. From the start of the year to the very end he performed significantly worse than the other two in that magical trident. Sometimes he was unlucky, others he was just awful. It sounds harsh, but after those magical months at the end of 2016, I expected him to be a serious competitor to Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at this point. I want to see that when we sit and summarize 2017.
Can we have this northern derby, please?
Sporting Gijon are at the moment in the relegation zone. With just 12 points after 17 games in La Primera Division, Rojiblancos are looking at a possible relegation which, in one aspect, would be terrible for the club, who were promoted to La Liga in 2015. But on the other hand, we would be looking at the first fixture in 14 years between Sporting and Real Oviedo. El Derbi Asturiano has seen way over 100 games and is a classic, but for almost a decade and a half these two sides have played on different levels, mainly because of Oviedo’s previous financial troubles. I have no problem with Gijon as a club, but I’d really like to see them relegated purely because of this fixture. So, shape up, Valencia! Daniel from Sweden wants to see a game.
Sevilla, how far can they go?
When Unai Emery left, I thought Sevilla would sink like a rock. But half way through the season the side find themselves in 2nd in La Liga and look favourites to go through to the quarter finals (in my opinion). While dangerously strong at home, the side has really improved their record away from home and as a result, they are at the moment in the title race. Right now, I see no limits for this incredibly talented team. I see no reason they can’t lift the league trophy later this spring. Maybe I’m getting a bit carried away, but this side has shown great potential for a few years now, and I think they’ve finally found their own little recipe for success. Jorge Sampaoli has taken this team to new hights in his first six months as manager. Imagine what we could be saying about his work when he leaves the club.
Yep, 2017 is going to be a good year.
Spanish Football Expert
Real Madrid have recemtly surpassed their club record by staying unbeaten for 35 games. Although there are some impressive results displaying their strength and fire-power, a surprising amount of unconvincing results are sprinkled in. There has been much debate about how Real Madrid have navigated past this: some say through luck, whilst others argue it is down to Real Madrid’s characteristic ‘steely resolve’. A simple approach to this would suggest Zinedine Zidane himself has orchestrated this feat, and numbers firmly support his claim with the team losing only 2 of the 53 games in 2016, however, many are tentative to suggest this is only a partial answer. So what is it?
To find an example of an ‘unconvincing’ display we only need to rewind back to their last league game against Deportivo de La Coruña. Heading into the 80’ minute 2-1 down, they were able to turn around the deficit to win with a side missing Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema, all on the bench. People will give you the tired old answer of how real Champions are able to ‘win ugly’ and they are perhaps right as no one can question the fact that Real are already 3 points ahead with a game in hand (which is against 17th placed Valencia) over Barcelona. In their Champions League quarter-final tie against Wolfsburg last season, they managed to overturn a 2-0 score line at home to progress 3-2 on aggregate. Further evidence to support this comes when we observe that La Real have won a quarter of their games this year coming from behind, with Sergio Ramos himself saving 4 points this season on his own from losing situations.
Although luck may not be a prominent feature this year Real have certainly benefitted from it: a recollection of the 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon is proof. Sporting were the dominant team in that clash and Abelardo Fernandez’s men even won a late penalty but it wasn’t to be as Duje Cop blasted the spot-kick over.
Zidane’s contribution to the team cannot be overlooked, especially considering the state of affairs Rafael Benitez left the side in. For Real to comeback from that and win the Champions League was special. Zidane isn't a standout tactician but he has shown understanding of tactics, visible from how he set up the team against Atletico Madrid. A rigid 4-4-1-1 allowed Real Madrid to counterattack and eliminate their defensive vulnerabilities by tightening up. But perhaps his key skill is his man-management, which certainly his predecessors lacked. In a dressing room full of bloated egos and prides, Zidane has managed to convince the squad to buy into his ideas, with the exception of James Rodriguez. Zidane has even convinced Ronaldo to rest in certain games and has got the best out of his second string players to keep Real churning out points; Lucas Vazquez and Mariano Diaz Mejia have both stepped up to plug the gaps when key players like Bale have been injured.
This Real side with Zidane at the helm have been terrific this calendar year and their relentless passion and hunger for the win has brought them points, with the aid of some luck, but Zidane deserves as much praise as his valiant team.
Spanish Football Expert
Hundreds of years of El Clásicos have given us a fair amount of heroes. Some won their side the league title; others ended weeks of speculation with their brilliant performances; a few even changed the way we looked at football. Here are a few of the recent examples of players who became club legends after their world class performances.
Leo Messi, 27th April 2011
It was called The Mega Clásico. The spring of 2011 saw four clashes between the two giants within only 18(!) days, two of which were going to be Champions League semi-finals. The Mega Clásico was so incredibly hyped up, but ended up being a quite boring affair for the neutral fans, at least for the first 70 minutes or so, as Barcelona got the game exactly where they wanted it. With their extreme tiki taka football, Blaugrana got a lot of new haters but the Culés couldn’t care less as they watched their heroes execute a perfect game tactically at the Santiago Bernabéu. When everyone thought Barcelona would follow through right to the end with their extremely patient passing, Leo Messi broke the deadlock in the 76th minute. The little Argentinian put the Catalans a goal up with a nice finish in between Iker Casillas’ legs. 10 minutes later he was at it again. With a mind-blowing run, he passed four Blancos defenders and doubled Blaugrana’s lead with a composed, yet clinical finish in the bottom-right corner. Barcelona progressed to the final, and took their second Champions League title in three years. Messi became a true El Clásico hero.
Cristiano Ronaldo, 21st April 2012
In the spring of 2012 the two rivals were, as always, fighting for the La Liga title. Los Blancos were desperate to win it after a 5-year league title drought. As the teams stepped on to the beautiful Camp Nou grass, Real Madrid were four points clear at the top. Barcelona had the momentum coming in to the clash, as they just weeks earlier were trailing by ten points. After a few dropped Madrid points, it looked like Barcelona could be back in it again with a win as 99,000 fans gathered at the biggest stadium in Europe to watch Pep Guardiola once again battle José Mourinho. But they were in for a shock. Los Mergengues took the lead after just 17 minutes, which was followed by an Alexis Sánchez equaliser. But the Blaugrana joy lasted just 5 minutes. Mesut Özil received the ball on the right-hand side, and found a space for Cristiano to run into. The run, the pass, and the finish was all completed with perfection. It was that goal which pretty much sealed the Madrid side their first league title since 2008, and Ronaldo became the hero of the season.
Ronaldinho, 19th of November 2005
In 2005, Ronaldinho was at his absolute best. In my opinion, no player has ever been more superior to the other players than the Brazilian was at that time. And that clash at the Bernabéu just confirmed that. That night in Madrid changed the way I looked at this beautiful game. It was the foundation of my love for Spanish football and everything around it. I’m actually getting quite emotional as I sit here remembering what went down that night. Barcelona smashed Real Madrid 3-0. An 18 year old Leo Messi was behind Samuel Eto’o’s goal which gave Barcelona the lead in the first half. In the second half Ronaldinho completely stole the show. With his two amazing solo runs he scored a brace in the space of 17 minutes.
After his second goal, the crowd at the Bernabéu gave the magician a standing ovation. Watching that made me realize what football is all about. Sure, you follow your team week in and week out, and the goal is to always see the team you support win. But when that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t appreciate great football. The standing ovation didn’t mean all the Madrid fans suddenly became Culés. It didn’t mean they were particularly happy with what they had just seen. It just meant they knew they had seen something extraordinary by an incredible footballer, and respected it.
Admitting your defeat in such a huge clash like that, and doing so by standing up, applauding, and showing your respect for it is something the Madrid fans should get huge credit for. That is something we rarely see in modern football, but it is something we, at times, can see in the Spanish top division. That is why I love it so much.
Prediction for this year’s El Clásico: 2-2
Spanish Football Expert
Tarun takes a look at the impressive start Real Sociedad have made to the La Liga season and ponders on what the future holds.
Real Sociedad have had an outstanding month, securing 7 points out of 9 with only a clinical Lionel Messi finish denying them 3 points against a lethargic and disorganised Barcelona. The team is currently an impressive fifth in the table with 23 points (that’s almost half of the points they achieved the whole of last season already, 48). With only teams in the bottom 5 left to play until January, will we be seeing La Real sitting pretty in a Champions League spot having dethroned a major force come the New Year?
The month of November started with a bang at Anoeta as 2 penalties took them to victory against Atlético Madrid; a cute Carlos Vela finish and a powerful Willian José strike coasted Sociedad to victory. Both teams struggled to play out from the back with the heavy rain holding up the ball but as it dried out some clever counter attacks got the better of the static Atlético defence. A routine win against Sporting Gijon capped by a stunning Inigo Martinez free-kick allowed the team to carry on churning out points as a visit from Barcelona loomed. However, only a disallowed goal and a moment of quality from the pairing of Neymar Jr. and Messi denied Sociedad the win. A fervent La Real displayed a scintillating attacking performance but were desperately unlucky, especially with Carlos Vela even managing to hit the post in the dying minutes as well.
Real Sociedad had a quite transfer window as expected as they have a cap on non-Basque players so they struggle to find a high number of eligible players. They have done the opposite to teams like Sevilla and Valencia, who both saw a mass exodus and influx of players, opting to stick with a stable team. However, one of their international additions over the summer has really brought home the goods in the form of Willian José. He has scored 7 goals and assisted 1 to propel Sociedad this season. He is proving to be a great addition to the squad by the manager, Eusebio Sacristan, for only €5.1 million. The team struggled last season as the ineffective Jonathas was unable to cement his position in the starting line-up. Willian José’s poachers finish against Barcelona indicated what the team had been missing during Imanol Agirretxe’s absence through injury. His fast and direct play allows him to mop up after the wingers, Vela and Mikel Oyarzabal, as well as release them in quick counter attacking build-ups. This new MSN-like role has really suited Sociedad and is a very nice change to have a striker focused on speed as opposed to aerial prowess.
We have always recognised and admired Carlos Vela’s talent. He can be world-class on his day but could not seem to be able to deliver week-in week- out. This season though, with 4 goals and 2 assists, he has built consistency into his game; he has finally come of age! He has been vibrant on the right wing and his relationship with Oyarzabal and Willian José has tormented defences. His spectacular strike against Barcelona cannot go unnoticed even though it wasn’t a goal and if the Spanish FA had implemented goal line technology it might even have been one.
Can La Real go all the way? With a solid backline and leaders like Xabi Prieto and Iñigo Martínez - and let’s not forget their own little MSN - they stand in good stead. With a few giant-killings already under their belt, I’m sure they are brimming with confidence that they will win the upcoming battles against Villareal and fierce neighbours Athletic Bilbao in the war for the Europa League spot, and possibly even vie for Champions League qualification. Being only 1 point behind fourth placed Atletico Madrid, they have every right to.
Spanish Football Writer
I could go with a dramatic and intense introduction to this text, but that wouldn’t change much. El Derbi madrileño is probably the second biggest club match out there right now. So why would it need any kind of build up?
With El Clásico being the biggest game in Spain (and the world pretty much), the clash between the two Madrid giants is often forgotten amongst neutral football fans. The fixture has proven, in the past few years, to be rather non-Spanish in a sense that the intensity is something that we rarely see in La Liga. It’s dirty, it’s ugly, and extremely infected. Atletico Madrid have in later years been famous, and criticized for their incredibly tough mentality coming in to these big games. This often sets the tone for the whole match, and usually triggers the opposing side to play in the same manners.
We’ve seen a pattern in their game plans against the big clubs in Primera División. To get the opposing team out of balance, out of their rhythm, which is so important for the more attacking sides. They’ve figured out what they need to do in order to do just that, and although it may look as if they’ve completely lost their minds and actually try to get sent off, it has proven to be very successful against the other Spanish and European giants.
Their latest results against the other two Spanish mega clubs in the past few years is nothing but impressive, not having lost at the Santiago Bernabéu in the league since 2nd December 2012, and knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League two times in the last three years. Their 4-0 win over Real Madrid in their 2014/2015 La Liga campaign was probably one of the most impressive games I’ve ever seen performed tactically. They absolutely smashed Ronaldo and the rest of Los Merengues, and if you ask me, there’s a possibility we’ll see a similar display tonight.
The Atleti fans are always 100% behind their team. This makes the Vicente Calderon a nightmare for all other teams trying to silent the constantly cheering fans. Tonight will be and huge test for Zinedine Zidane and his Los Blancos. They’ll want the win. They’ll want the three points. They’ll want the glory. But I think Atletico will want it more.
Valencia are one of the biggest and most famous clubs in Spain. So what has gone wrong and what can new manager Cesar Prandelli do about it?
Cesar Prandelli’s start at Valencia CF, at first glance, seems dreadful. 1 win and 2 losses in 4 games in conjunction with the team dangling at 15th in the league table doesn’t make for pleasant reading. With much expected from the manager, since Prandelli is the first appointment in recent times to have any prior coaching experience, the results seem as erratic as ever. But does that mean nothing has changed?
Valencia started the season with a tumultuous transfer window with Pako Ayestarán at the helm, as 18 players were offloaded. The club started the season with 4 straight losses as the replacements struggled to gel and the 2 -1 defeat to Athletic Bilbao proved to be the last straw for Ayestarán. Prandelli’s feat of delivering Italy to the final Euro 2012 had not been forgotten by Peter Lim, Valencia’s billionaire owner. On the back of the disastrous 2010 World Cup, where Italy finished bottom of an easy group, Prandelli came in to a similar situation he finds himself in right now.
From watching Valencia it is clear what is wrong with the team: everything! The squad has a disorganised defence and an unfocused attack with no leader or voice to give them any steel or spine. The parallels to 2010 Italy do not stop there, with captain Fabio Cannavaro retiring in just the same way as influential Valencia defender Shkrodran Mustafi left to join Arsenal. Mustafi had taken up many of those roles previously mentioned , especially with regards to defensive organization and steely leadership, and the burden has now fallen to Enzo Pérez (captain) and Dani Parejo. Both have struggled to adapt.
If we observe Valencia’s recent results we can see that Prandelli has managed to infuse some battling spirit into the team. The game against Barcelona has characterized some of this and many will consider them very unlucky to not get a point with only Lionel Messi’s 94’ minute penalty denying them. We have seen that the gap in skill can be compensated for tactical nous and hard work by Alavés and Eibar and this philosophy heavily resonates in Prandelli’s coaching. Valencia certainly don’t lack skill; players like Luis Nani, Jose Gaya and Diego Alves are examples of this and some organization could make them a force to reckon. Valencia has fixtures against bottom of the league Granada and also Leganes coming up, games where they can target wins to start turning their season around. If they can build a platform and Prandelli can forge a backbone in the team, it will be very interesting to see what they can achieve.
Spanish Football Writer
“Sergi Roberto is a player to look out for in the coming years. When he really breaks through you’ll all be surprised.” – Pep Guardiola in 2011. It took about 4 years, but he was right. We were indeed surprised when, almost exactly a year ago, Roberto earned himself a place in the Blaugrana starting eleven and kept impressing us with his incredible vision and versatility.
Versatility is the word that describes Sergi Roberto the best. Throughout La Masia he mainly played in a central midfield role, but as his career at Barcelona seemed to have stagnated a bit, manager Luis “Lucho” Enrique (a.k.a. better than Pep Guardiola) used his incredible ability to adapt and played him in whatever position they needed a player. The start of the 2015/2016 season was Roberto’s big breakthrough and we stood there completely astounded as he took on new positions and tasks every game and handled them all brilliantly.
Getafe away early last season was when I realized he was a special player. With two world class assists he pretty much won the Catalan side the three points. In the first half he received a cross just outside the box and back heel-volleyed it to Luis Suarez who put it away in the bottom left corner. The second one, while not as technically impressive, is still my favourite out of the two. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen brought the ball down after a corner, and the attacking line were prepared to counter attack. With good vision the German threw the ball out to the right were Sergi picked it up. He then went on a Messi-like run of about 40 yards and found Neymar with an incredible cross, allowing the Brazilian to finish off the game off with the second goal.
Now, many people argue that Blaugrana is in need of a new right back, that Roberto isn’t a proper one and that he should be played as one of the two central midfielders in the side’s 4-3-3 system. And at first, I agreed with them. I thought it was a waste of talent to put him in a position where he wouldn’t have had as much impact on the game as he would otherwise. But the way he has been playing, and the way everything has worked out so well with Rafinha filling the other midfield spot, I’m confident Sergi is the player the Catalans can rely on in that right back spot for many years to come. I mean, he has it all. His vision and the passing needed to play in Barcelona’s style of play, his tactical awareness, his fantastic stamina, and even a bit of pace means he is the perfect fit for that exact spot.
He is, in my opinion, amongst the top 5 right backs in the world at the moment, which is very impressive considering he hasn’t even played in that position for a full year. Just imagine what he can do in two, three, four years... He was a late bloomer, but his future is looking brighter than many others.
Spanish Football Expert
Real Madrid’s luck is running out. Los Blancos haven’t impressed in many games this season, and it’s not that surprising in the mind of our writer, Daniel. They haven’t impressed me since they sacked Ancelotti, and that was the start of all their problems.
Being a culé, I very much enjoy these times. To see the club I despise the most struggling is about as good as it gets. But let’s get to the bottom of this. To be honest, Real Madrid haven’t really been a team we’ve feared during the past year or so. They got their Champions League final spot pretty much handed to them, facing Roma, Wolfsburg and Manchester City on their way to the San Siro. And you may argue the final is what really separates the true winners from the losers, but can’t we all agree Atleti deserved it way more, knocking out Barcelona and Bayern Munich to earn their place in the big final? I sound bitter, I know, but leave me alone...
I forget where I was going with that, but my point is that even as Champions League champions, they were not and are not a team to fear until things change. Zidane was a great player, and is probably fantastic with the squad, but I’m not so sure he’s the man to take this Madrid side to the big titles in the coming years. Given what we’ve seen so far this season, this year’s edition looks uninspired and confused. Don’t get me wrong, Real Madrid has an incredibly talented squad and in the end almost always turn out winners when the ref blows for full time, but this isn’t about that. A win is always a win, but for teams such as Real, the three points are worth less in the long run, if it means they’re not ready for the bigger games. The spring always comes, and Los Blancos will be there when it’s time for the Champions League semi-finals. But as long as they keep scrapping wins at the very end of games or just settle with one goal wins, or even drop points at times, they will never be ready for the German and Catalan armies.
The problems go back to the end of the 2014/2015 season. My dearly beloved Blaugrana were treble winners, and we all had the time of our lives. Meanwhile in Madrid, things looked a bit different. Florentino Perez watched us celebrate like mad men and, as he always does, went nuts. He seems to have forgotten about last May. La Decima, which he dreamt of for so long, was finally his. Ancelotti had brought it to him. But it was as if all that was blown over and way back in the past, and as a result of Perez’s lack of patience (and memory apparently), Ancelotti was sacked just one year after his big triumph. The aftermath of it all was problematic with Cristiano Ronaldo, among others, criticising the president’s decision.
When the time came for Perez to pick a new manager, he decided that it was time for the club to go back to its’ roots and thought to himself: “Who is the best manager out there ever to grow up in this club? Ah, Rafa Benitez! Brilliant”. Rafa was appointed, and started the season as manager for Real Madrid, a job he had always dreamed of. He finished the season in Newcastle, who got relegated from the Premier League. Says it all really.
I’m not saying Zidane is a poor manager or tactician, but as things stand they could really use some structure and clear game plans, and with his lack of experience I just don’t think Zidane can give them that at the moment. But maybe it’s time for him to prove me wrong.
Spanish Football Expert