Carlo Ancelotti has a dilemma on his hands. Not a bad dilemma by any means, but rather a great one for any manager to have. The Great Eyebrowed One will have to choose his starting winger opposite of Cristiano Ronaldo once his suspension is lifted and he'll have to choose between the record signing Gareth Bale and his playmaking, versus the young phenom Jese and his addiction to scoring goals.
At a quick glance (without getting too deep into the numbers), Bale has 11 goals and nine assists to his name while Jese has eight goals and four assists to his, both accruing these numbers in fairly limited minutes. Though Bale is still recovering from annoying injuries and trying to get into the flow of the team, he's still managing to create for others while at the same time tracking back to help on defense (as evidenced by a couple clearances off of Getafe corners in the box yesterday). Jese, a.k.a. Big Flow, is virtually a spitting image of Cristiano Ronaldo and has picked up the scoring slack with the star player's three match suspension. Though his defensive contribution could stand to improve and likely will as he ages, his directness is his advantage over Bale as the Welshman is still working to get up to 100 percent match fitness while the young Spaniard is rampaging through defenses.
Jese has now scored in five out of the last six matches for RM, including a game winner at Espanyol, the only goal for RM in the 1-1 draw against Bilbao, a goal against Atleti in the CDR and the first goal yesterday. However, that might not be enough to win him the starting spot because we're not taking political implications into play. Bale was the record signing this past summer, the player considered to be one of the deadliest weapons in the sport, Flo Bro's prize jewel of the transfer period and a retort to Barca's signing of Neymar. As Carlo said yesterday, "I am a coach, not an administrator, I only talk about the football side of things" but it's hard not to imagine Bale's fee being a factor in who starts.
Now that there's only one more match before CR's return to league play, both players will surely use this last match as an audition of sorts for who should start going forward. Personally, I prefer Bale even though he's still trying to get accommodated to his teammates. I find his passing and eye for others to be substantially better and he offers more in tracking back. However, I think Jese should be the first offensive substitute off the bench and the man to come on for Bale in second halves.
How about you, who's your starter? Would your league starter be the same one for the CL?
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