The signal sounded and the hunt that has accompanied football and Spanish journalism in the past 18 years begins.
It isn’t new because it has repeated itself over time. It is somewhat cyclical but the truth is that each year it increases in intensity.
The curious thing is that those who are willing to do anything to make a name for themselves usually return to their burrow with the passage of time and even decide to hibernate in the middle of May. At least, the praise doesn’t compare with the fury of the attacks. Curious.
It is a scene that could be described as a hunt which takes place year after year, a way of understanding the management of a football club who have so far achieved five Champions League titles, four LaLiga Santander championships, two Copa del Rey trophies, three Club World Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, four European Super Cups and many others in Spain.
Of course, we are talking about Florentino Perez and his Real Madrid, a club and and someone’s team, and although some deny it, of success.
Perez and his understanding of a club’s management, with the successes and mistakes that come with it, has led Real Madrid to victories at many levels.
Assuming risks and making decisions that fly in the face of sporting logic to those on the outside but are carried out within a particular plan, strategy or personal way of understanding how a football team is built.
Real Madrid are not the team of last season.
It is not because a player who was vital to the team wanted to leave and the club weren’t keen to give him the keys to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu as has been done in other countries.
Neither is it because Zinedine Zidane, who was a gamble from the president who always defended him even against the opinion of many who felt it wasn’t a good idea because he wasn’t a coach (he lifted three Champions League), thought it was time to depart.
Julen Lopetegui arrived and is the solution to a complicated situation.
The chosen one the club wanted was Mauricio Pochettino but his commitment to Tottenham Hotspur and the refusal of Daniel Levy to negotiate (Jose Angel Sanchez tried it) led them to look elsewhere.
Do you remember what was said of Lopetegui before he signed for Real Madrid?
The problem is that the coach hasn’t understood how this current Real side work best or at least that appears to be the case with his decisions.
He has been given one last chance by the club for people to regain confidence in his work.
It sounds bad but that is the reality of football and when it is Real Madrid who do it, it becomes perverse in the eyes of some.
If it were other sides, it would even be applauded.
Let’s not be hypocritical and recognise that everywhere, a coach is being criticised and put in doubt but it only appears to be a crime when it comes to Los Blancos.
Regarding the issue of the playing staff and filling the gap left by CR7, the debate is varied.
What would have been said if Real Madrid had stumped up the 150 million euros which was the Eden Hazard asking price or the 200 million euros that Spurs wanted for Kane?
They were also on the lookout for Neymar but they didn’t meet along the road there.
Lopetegui wanted a No. 9 and got Mariano, as well as Vinicius, who is the club’s gamble and until now, the coach has turned his back on him.
In total, 145 million euros have been spent on reinforcements but it is still being said that Real Madrid haven’t signed anyone.
From the sporting side, they insisted on the need for a No. 9, a centre-back, a left-back, a midfielder and a goalkeeper.
The decision of the club was to give an opportunity to those who were already there because, in addition, several doors weren’t knocked or opened for different reasons.
They hoped that Gareth Bale would not shy away due to physical issues, that Marco Asensio would be an everyday player, that Raphael Varane and Luka Modric would come back well from the World Cup final, that Marcelo would return to his best form and that Karim Benzema would assume goalscoring responsibilities and that Lopetegui would be the key to turn the lock.
It is clear that none of that has happened but all of the decisions have logic and an explanation behind them and if at the end of the season, it is shown that they were wrong, you must change your strategy.
They know what they are doing at the Bernabeu but beware that the hunt is still alive and eager to prove all the doomsayers wrong for one more year.