The past week has been a torrid one for Real Madrid and its fans. The genuine prospect of a historic treble (given the slip ups of Atletico and Barca) had all of us excited. A week later, most of the optimism seems to have evaporated and fingers have been pointed at various stuff such as management, medical staff and not the least, the players not being up to the mark .
The one reason I would like to focus on is the players themselves and in particular one player whose performances seems to have caught the ire of the majority. This player was worth ~ 40m euros and comes from the Basque region of Spain. Isn't that enough of a clue as to whom I am referring to ?? Yes, it is the poor Asier Illaramendi, who in my opinion has not been just criticized but also has been scapegoated. All kinds of stuff has been hurled at him. From being slow to not being to the level of this hypothetical "Real Madrid quality" to not being worth 40m.
Firstly, I would agree that some of his recent performances have warranted criticism. But one must not forget that in most of those games he was not playing in his preferred position but as a back-up to some one else. In spite of this, I believe some aspects of his play need some refinement. But the goal of my post is to offer a rebuttal to some of the comments I have seen. Let's start with the point that he is "too slow". The guy may not have the pace of CR7 but from when did pace matter so much for a regista ? If it were to be the case, Pirlo should have stopped playing long ago and gone back to his wine yard business. Most people like to argue that he is not worth 40m euros. The simple fact is that no player ever gets to decide what he is worth in the market. Perhaps the most nauseating comment I have seen about him is that "he is not of Real Madrid quality" . First of all, those who believe in this should do me a favor by explaining what this abstract notion is. But as far as I remember, wasn't the same said of Modric as well?, who I believe has been our best player of the season. Shouldn't we exercise a little restraint before we start writing off people, at least in the light of evidence as manifested in Modric's case ??
Let me end with a simple instance as to why Illara deserves another season. If you watched the game against Celta, you would have noticed Illara came on as a sub. There was one particular play near Celta's goal where he took a loose ball with awkward bounce from his right foot on to his left and took a shot only to be saved by Sergio. For a DM to have that kind of control and to be able to take a shot with his weaker foot is an obvious pointer to the kind of talent this guy possesses. There is a spark in him. It just needs time and the right nurturing to explode.