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Open Thread: June 18, 2021

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The first day without Ramos

Don’t you want one of my players?
Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s death stare at any club that wants to take any of his prized assets

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.

DO WE WANT WAR?

I posed that question to you, do you want war? with whom you may ask. With none other than PSG. If you haven’t noticed, recently they’ve been spanking barca all over the place in the transfer window. Targeting the same players and Beating them to it. Wijnaldum, who only needed to do a barca medical and he would’ve been barca player is now a PSG player. And barca have moved to their next target of Memphis Depay, whom they’ve been targeting for about a year or so. He’s now a free agent and is on the verge of signing for barca, per Fabrizio. But PSG have now made an official last minute enquiry to sign him. Just like they did Wijnaldum, doubling the salary offer for Wijnaldum to choose them.

So if we truly want to get Mbappe, we have to be real careful how we go about it with PSG. Mbappe is more than just a generational talent/player for PSG. He is a national symbol in and for France. His presence/absence could also affect and trickle down to Ligue 1’s TV rights deal. That’s how big of a player he is. Thankfully Amazon has come to the rescue of Ligue 1’s TV rights deal, seeing as PSG were able to secure Neymar’s future in Ligue 1. But an absence of Mbappe could affect whether or not that deal gets extended and for how much in 3 years time. If we go the ruthless route to get Mbappe, this could affect our relationship with PSG. Starting a war that will adversely affect us in the market should we both want the same player as PSG at any given time. Barca tried it with PSG and learned the hard way in losing Neymar.

RAMOS IS GONE

Welp! today is officially the first day without Sergio Ramos at our club. And frankly, as with this departure, if egos were set aside. Ramos would probably still be here albeit with a lesser salary. Our club can be very addicting, and it makes you want to overstay your welcome. But like anything ese in life, all things come to an end and one needs to know when to go. We’ve seen many legends in their mid 30’s want to stay here till they’re 40, whilst collecting high wages, starting every match and stifling the younger generation for minutes. All whilst their bodies take longer to recover each passing game and their form continues to wane to the ire of the fans. But often times because they’re a legend, nobody says anything. Instead, we all watch as they breakdown physically with age right in front of us. And even worse, they’re constantly told the age old lie that they can still do it at the highest of levels, and with the full trust of the coach, they start endless matches till they pick up form. Thus fooling everyone to think they can still do it like they’re 25 again, till their bodies let them down again and we do it all over again. All at the expense of an entire season. Form is temporary but wisdom is eternal. I hate that we have to have this conversation again and again.

Now there are situations where club legends in their 30’s are realistic with themselves, adjust their expectations and accept the limits that come with time. And even better, they either leave gracefully (Arbeloa) or get to retire at Real Madrid. I.e Zidane. Not many players go that route here. At 34, some players still want to play 40-50 games a season, starting all of them. Even PSG didn’t keep Thiago Silva at 35, his contract situation also dragged out till he became a free agent. And even at Chelsea, the current champions league winners, they have him on a 1 year lease. With him needing to renew for another year, every year. No amount of medicine, workout techniques, healthy dieting and science can make a player in their 30’s stay at Real Madrid for long. They’ll be gone before such a medicine is invented and there’s a science behind it. Correct me if i’m wrong.

RAFA NADAL PULLS OUT

Rafa Nadal has announced his decision to not participate in the upcoming Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympic games. Stating that he wants to prolong his career as his body can only take so much.

Rafa Nadal is 35 and plays tennis, all due respect as tennis is also physically demanding. Now imagine our footballers that play in an even more physically demanding sport. I appreciate Nadal’s transparency because a lot of footballers aren’t honest with themselves or honest to the fans about what really goes on with their bodies. The pandemic has severely reduced the off season that the players use to relax. And now we have a heavy cluster of games that are coming nonstop. Imagine the toll on the players bodies and how it affects their recovery time. Especially the old players in their 30’s. Don’t let the Instagram workout videos fool you. Chances are, that’s probably the first workout they’ve successfully completed on camera in months. Off camera, they’re sleeping hard in a cryogenic chamber. Ibrahimovic at 39 can only managed 27 games with Milan and half the time he isn’t mobile on the pitch. Yesterday Chiellini could only last 23 minutes against Switzerland in the first half before asking to be subbed off. And all Switzerland did was launch a fast counter attack that had him running and panting for his life. Now he’s injured, and oh, he’s 36 by the way. One of the reasons he’s been able to last so long at Juventus with Bonnuci is due to the system they play in at Juve. A system that shields their age from exposure. Payers should learn to accept the limits that come with age and not force their bodies to go beyond what it physically no longer can. Everyone ain’t Cristiano.

ICYMI:

Ramos explains why he is leaving. Marcelo and Benzema will be our captains going forward. An ode to Sergio Ramos.