ZARAGOZA, SPAIN - AUGUST 28: Cristiano Ronaldo (#7) of Real Madrid celebrates with Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao (L) after scoring his third goal during the La Liga match between Real Zaragoza and Real Madrid at estadio La Romareda on August 28, 2011 in Zaragoza, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid didn't sign a big-name superstar this transfer window. Sure, Nuri Sahin, Fabio Coentrão, Hamit Altintop, and Callejón are all top quality players who will bring a lot to the squad, but this wasn't a €200 million for Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo kind of summer. No Neymar, no Kun Agüero.
And that's the good news.
This type of transfer window is exactly what a team like Real Madrid (hastily constructed, still feeling each other out under their second-year coach) needs: there haven't been any major personel shakeups, only a few strategic players brought in to address very specific needs.
So why do we feel like this frantic deadline day filled with departures is anticlimactic? It is, I mean, but why is that a bad--or at least an undesirable--thing?Honestly, most level-headed madridistas that I know haven't been crying out for another transfer. Instead, they've been constantly refreshing pages, or watching TV hoping that some of the dead weight contracts that los blancos are carrying (Gago, Lass, León, Drenthe) will be scooped up by some other team at a reasonable price.
But isn't it weird to be the sellers for once? The calm team that sits back and lets the market come to us?
It's kind of nice to not be worrying about the impending arrival (or non-arrival) of some superstar or other--or even some minor bit-part player. This must be what fans and journalists of teams that have been together for a long time feel like.
It's also a position that Madrid hasn't been in for a very long time. Mourinho wrapped up Madrid's summer signings a long time ago in order to focus on preparing for the season with the squad that he feels comfortable going to war with. Sure, Emmanuel Adebayor could have signed, or Florentino was thinking of dropping a lot of cash on Neymar (that might still happen this winter), but really, the squad was mostly set by July.
This allowed Mourinho to prepare, finally, with a team that knew each other well, that was already ready to go into battle with each other because they already had. The fruits of this labor are showing: Madrid battled Barcelona in the Supercup, out playing the Catalan side for much of the two matches. Then, they dismantled Zaragoza to begin the new Liga campaign.
I guess this is what it's like to not have major institutional and personnel shakeups every year--you can sit back and focus on the only thing that matters: winning. And that should be a scary thought for Madrid's opponents.