MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 21: Mesut Ozil (L) and Sami Khedira of Real Madrid take part in celebrations at Plaza Cibeles on April 21, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. Real beat Barcelona 1-0 in the Copa del Rey final in Valencia's Mestalla stadium on April 20. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Yes, it is I, the Editor-in-Chief of….not Managing Madrid but Barca Blaugranes. Before you start wondering whether I have hacked Managing Madrid, or worse, took over the Blog from Gabe and Josh, I haven’t. Neither have I switched alliances, I just think it would be inappropriate to address Real Madrid’s transfer activity on Barca Blaugranes and vice versa. And no, I will not exploit this opportunity to slam Jose Mourinho & Co.
Take a deep breath.
…well, breathing is always a good thing.
Now, let’s get to business.
As much as it pains me to admit, Real Madrid has been brilliant in the transfer market for second or third year in a row. While it was obvious that the return of Florentino Perez would reignite, or better yet, reboot the Galactico era, he appears to have learned from past mistakes. Apart from the enormous free-spending summer of 2009 (a staggering €250-plus million) Mr. Perez has since sanctioned rather reasonably-priced signings, reasonably in relation to their (Real Madrid’s) true spending-power. After all, Real Madrid is the club that has broken the world record for transfers on several occasions. Real Madrid’s marquee signing of 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo is, and probably will remain, the world’s most expensive player of all-time. Though a few eyebrows were raised when Real Madrid acquired his services for a mammoth £80m (€94m) from Manchester United, the Portuguese winger has more than justified his massive price-tag, unlike perennial underachiever, and FC Barcelona’s own 2009 mega-signing, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
While the summer of 2009 was marked by most extravagant (and expensive) shopping spree in the history of professional team sports, the subsequent summer signings of 2010 and 2011 may have been of less(er) profile, less expensive but surprisingly of no less quality. The summer of 2010 saw a duo of German internationals arrive in the Spanish capital, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil. Neither commanded more than a €15m transfer fee, but the pair seems to have firmly established their places in Real Madrid’s starting XI. Especially the latter can, or is already, considered indispensable. Even Ricardo Carvalho, 32 years old at the time of his transfer, can be considered an inspired signing. Due to his age some managers wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of buying him, much less for the price of €8m. Still, the Portuguese had plenty to offer and was easily one of Madrid’s best defenders, if not the best.
Come summer 2011, Real Madrid has once more raided the German Bundesliga for one of its brightest talents, former Borussia Dormund player and Turkish international, Nuri Sahin. His release clause was rumored to be in the neighborhood of €10m, an absolutely laughable price for a player who is yet to peak but already on the verge of becoming world-class.
Meanwhile FC Barcelona continues to chase Cesc Fabregas* who is rated at around £40m (€45m) by his current employers Arsenal FC. Although he is definitely world-class, he spends an awful lot of time off the pitch on the treatment table. It appears as if the roles are reversed this time. Florentino Perez and Real Madrid acquire players that enhance the squad in depth and quality, whereas Sandro Rosell and FC Barcelona are hell-bent on adding another expensive (Catalan) superstar the squad doesn’t need.
*at the time of writing he was still an Arsenal player
Adi-Oula Sebastian, Editor-in-Chief of Barca Blaugranes
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