If there is a team in the world without any sort of emergency then it’s Real Madrid, especially when you consider the fact they’ve won four Champions Leagues in five years. If there is a team in world football that can’t stand a season without titles, an institution for which three matches without a victory or even scoring a goal is seen as a crisis of apocalyptic proportions, it’s also Madrid.
Such pressure can often seem harmful, but it’s permanently present in the psyche of a club that is always present at the heart of the modern media and social networking fad. People prefer bad news and a morbid atmosphere, unfortunately that doesn’t say a great deal for our mental health and way of approaching life, but at this point we’re not going to fool ourselves anymore.
Some theories maintain that precisely from this self-imposed demand the need to expand the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu trophy room can be explained. The works were seen as necessary to do in the summer in order to accommodate a new European Cup. There may be some truth in the reasoning, however it’s just another distraction from the belief that it wasn’t necessary to sign a top-level forward after letting the club’s all-time leading goal-scorer depart. As Radio Futura once sang, it takes courage…
The main promoter of the aforementioned demands of the Madridistas is none other than Florentino Perez, who looks in the mirror of the Santiago Bernabeu since July 17, 2000, when he took the presidential chair for the first time. There were years in which the team didn’t achieve sporting successes, however he was able to top his own particular league of illusion once August rolled around by completing the signing of the best player in the world at that precise moment. Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Ronaldo. Some fans arrived to celebrate signings more than titles.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar
Then came the dominance of Barcelona and Pep Guardiola. This was a very painful time indeed for Real Madrid supporters, but it was shorter than they feared thanks to Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and the right work undertaken by Perez and Jose Angel Sanchez to sign the right players in relation to what the team needed. As a result, they won four Champions Leagues in five years whilst Lionel Messi was forced to settle for domestic honours. It may seem strange, but as more titles were won there were fewer signings made by Los Blancos, or perhaps it isn’t so strange.
Unfortunately, everything has an end and that of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career in Madrid would be a particularly sour one. Someday the whole truth of the story will be told, the egos involved, the barely concealed mutual hatreds, unfulfilled promises, jealousies and ultimate betrayals which ended up with Real Madrid opening the exit door for their iconic star to leave. Zinedine Zidane was no less tired, although he smiled more, and it wasn’t the president who ended up fatigued but rather the players in the dressing room. Before that there was a time when the idea of a Ronaldo/Neymar partnership being constructed at the club seemed possible, however the Portuguese forward wasn’t willing to share his throne with anyone. Even less with someone who was paid more money than he was. In addition, Paris Saint-Germain threatened Los Blancos with repotting them to FIFA and that marked the end of the soap opera (for now) regarding Neymar.
Convinced that the Brazilian is the only player with enough both on and off the pitch to ensure sporting success and financial income to Real Madrid, Perez decided it was worth waiting another year for Neymar. The ideal scenario would have been to replace Ronaldo this summer, but for a long time there has been competitors in his transfer league. That’s why he refused to pay more than 100 million euros for a second-rate score, Mauro Icardi for example. He was sure that it didn’t make business sense and that between Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema there would be more than enough talent to cover the goal-scoring shortfall left behind by Ronaldo. That’s also why he prevented the signing of Eden Hazard, hoping that the 2018/19 season would be the one in which Marco Asensio springs into life. The president thought that all three players deserved such a vote of confidence whilst he waits for Neymar. We’ll see if they are worthy of that trust. Otherwise what we will see the clear lack of patience which the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu has, even if they have enjoyed four Champions League titles in five years, but this is just how Real Madrid wins.