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Open Thread: December 21, 2021

Our Tuesday issue of the Daily Merengue!

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.

Tomorrow’s match at Bilbao

  • Real Madrid played them recently (December 1).
  • If you will recall, we kicked off the match razor sharp, showing a strong preparation and mentality.
  • After approximately 65 minutes our energy visibly went into a low ebb. Madridistas worldwide groaned in unison: “What is going with rotations? This happened in 2014.” - a topic that by now is beaten into a pulp.
  • Real Madrid were effective in ball progression as always and generated attacks around the box. We went ahead through a misplayed shot by Luka Modric in front of goal that went straight to Karim Benzema’s foot.
  • Los Blancos were actually besieged in the second half by Athletic Club, rescued only by the clumsiness of Iñaki Williams in the 18 yard box.
  • Alaba and Militao both had off nights with forwards managing to find space in between the pair to shoot.
  • Real Madrid in the previous meeting opted to simply clear and relieve pressure. Will we see that uncharacteristic surrendering of possession?
  • Casemiro is suspended for yellow card accumulation.
  • This is a key, tough game, with Sevilla breathing down our necks.
  • Any thoughts on expectations for tomorrow? Leave yours in the comments.

The highlights from December 1:

First team activity at the Valdebebas

Real Madrid players could be seen on the grounds today. Here’s Camavinga connecting up with Miguel Gutierrez in the clip. Peter Federico was also involved. These are some exciting players we have building up experience.

Isco’s initial COVID test: Positive

Thoughts and wishes to the former Malaga man that he will be cleared to play.

Interesting news about the ESL

The part about widespread support around Europe is logical and believable. As Florentino Perez has elucidated: There are two principal reasons the ESL has become necessary: 1. The rank corruption of FIFA and UEFA has led to a situation where European football and its rules on how clubs can be funded is literally controlled by state-owned teams who can skirt previous rules because they have gained control of the Executive Committee. Today we have cases such as Alexander Ceferin quietly giving himself a raise at the height of the 2020 pandemic shutdown up to roughly three million euros per year. 2. With some of the biggest clubs in Europe literally backed financially by states (e.g. PSG, Man City, Newcastle), any concept of a system of Financial Fair Play that was established across European boundaries has become null and void. Clubs cannot compete with teams that are funded by the economies of nations, or they will be forced to do something similar, but there are fundamental political and ethical problems with nation-states controlling and being heavily involved in competitive teams. Football has become badly broken in terms of a level financial playing field; only teams run to the outstanding level of Real Madrid or Bayern can really stay afloat competitively over the long haul and this is not a beautiful state for football to be in.

Bizarre quote of the day

Shouldn’t head of the biggest footballing organization have better innate sense than that? It’s unsettling.

Infantino claims that the World Cup happening every four years has nothing to do with its prestige? That’s wrong, of course. Rarity does increase its importance and all the drama. How could anyone see it otherwise? Club football is already overloading players with the different competitions. The only people who seem to be vocally in favor of making the World Cup biennial are literally on the FIFA payroll or consultancy list, sad as it is to admit such cynical things.