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Open Thread: November 15, 2021

Our Monday issue of the Daily Merengue!

Real Madrid Training Session Photo by Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail, Ezek Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

Upcoming for Real Madrid

La Liga Matchday 14: away at Granada, Sunday, November 21.

Granada is hovering just above the relegation zone after finishing midtable in the 2020-2021 season. They will be aiming to kickstart their season with a huge game for them and take points off the visitors from the Spanish capitol.

Robert Moreno is the manager, if you will remember, who was dismissed in 2019 from the Spain national team coaching staff after Luis Enrique publicly shamed him, calling him “disloyal” for his ambition of becoming Spain’s head coach.

Moreno left the role after Spain’s 5-0 win over Romania on 18 November.

“The only person responsible for Robert Moreno not being in my coaching staff is me,” Enrique said.

“He came to see me in my house and told me he wanted to lead the team at Euro 2020 and afterwards he would be happy to be my assistant coach again.

“I understand that he has worked very hard to be the coach and that he is ambitious - but for me that is disloyal. I would never do something like that and I don’t want someone with those characteristics in my staff.”

The effort to sign Aurélien Tchouaméni gets more complicated

Tchouaméni has been played in defensive positions as a midfielder, and not primarily in creative, orchestrating or attacking roles. He is more often winning 1v1 battles with speed and power than placing through-balls delicately on the feet of attackers in the final third. But he has the technical ability to develop into a more rounded midfielder, the way N’Golo Kante has moved out of being a pure DM.

One could argue, however, that there is significant trait overlap with Casemiro, Valverde and Camavinga. With Modric at 36 and given the club’s need for a clear and dominant replacement for the more creative, attacking role, it could make sense to address the forward role in midfield first, e.g. invest in a Florian Neuhaus or Nicolo Barella. One could also look with more urgency at a possible direct replacement for Kroos’ deeper lying roles of running ball progression, possession control and organizing the press in Ryan Gravenberch, given that Kroos has mentioned looking at retiring in 2023.

The club according to all accounts has confidence in Eduardo Camavinga, Fede Valverde and Antonio Blanco, and rightly so as they have shown to be good, promising young players. Adding several more top midfielders with specifically creative instincts and natural attacking traits would only strengthen and solidify the engine room of the team for the future. The club’s strategy has to be to replace their world class midfielders in the aggregate and not one for one.

Poll

Would you invest club capital in Tchouaméni?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    No, I don’t see it.
    (113 votes)
  • 55%
    He would be great for Real Madrid, but not as the highest priority.
    (231 votes)
  • 17%
    Yes, a midfield of Camavinga, Tchouaméni, and Valverde is complete.
    (71 votes)
415 votes total Vote Now

All signs point to Mbappe coming

It is an unfulfilling exercise to talk over and over about transactions that haven’t happened yet, but in this case the subject of his move to Madrid keeps being brought up with the player explicitly. So there is something substantial for us to talk about.

It is going to be a free transfer since his contract with PSG ends after this season. That tells you what hundreds of millions of euros means to the PSG owners if they were unwilling to let him go for what Madrid offered.

From the way Mbappe speaks, namely mentioning time and again how he was disappointed the move didn’t go through, and from the relationship he has with Benzema, Real Madrid seems to be the only destination he is thinking about.

By the way, would helping to recruit Mbappe factor into the Ballon d’Or award? Rhetorical question, obviously.

Remembering the Zidane headbutt in the WC 2006 final

It was so incomprehensible because it happened in the extra time of a final with the score deadlocked. Zidane had been the best player in the tournament — he was given the Golden Ball despite the one violent moment. So what in the world would cause the Frenchman to let his team go a man down at this most crucial moment of all? Materazzi has since told this story a number of times since, and he did cross a line which makes the reaction understandable.

“There had been a bit of contact between us in the area. He had scored France’s goal in the first half and our coach (Marcello Lippi) told me to mark him. After that first brush between us, I apologised but he reacted badly,” Materazzi recalled. The late tackles, altercations and exchanges continued until 110 minutes, when things reached a head. “After the third clash, I frowned and he retorted: ‘I’ll give you my shirt later’. I replied that I’d rather have his sister than his shirt”.

That was the final straw for Zidane, who turned and headbutted Materrazi in the chest. After reviewing the incident, the ref sent him off. Zizou spoke about it for the first time in an interview for Téléfoot in 2017: “”I’m not proud of what I did. One of the first things I did was to apologise to all of the young players in front of everyone, to all of the coaches who try to ensure that football is not about something else, not that. But it forms part of my career, it is part of my life and part of things which may not be that serious but it’s something which I have to accept that happened and take it on board”.

Real Madrid’s La Fabrica had a good weekend

Mark in your memory this goal by one Pol Fortuny:

Haaland concerns

Erling Haaland is one of the most desired transfer targets in the world. Well, if you are of the sort who believes that a traditional 9 is still an effective component of attack in the modern game.

But Haaland has at the moment a hip flexor injury, which is crucially a recurrence injury to that same hip. Dr. Raj explains below that this ailment can give reason for concern due to the possibility of easily reaggravating the weightbearing joint. It’s not yet grounds to change one’s mind on the young striker, because in the best of possible worlds he will heal just fine, but it does give reason to take a pause and see how things go with that.