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Real Madrid


John Simkin
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Juan Carlos Ocaña: What has happened to Real Madrid over the last year? Is it because you have had three Englishmen playing for you? I see you have got rid of Michael Owen but Jonathan Woodgate is obviously causing you problems. How is David Beckham playing? His form for England has gone into decline since he moved to Spain. Apparently they don’t train as hard at Real Madrid and was found to be unfit when he joined the England team last summer.

Has tactics got anything to do with it? Arsenal and Manchester United are both coming unstuck imitating Chelsea’s tactics. It seems to me that you need the right players to make playing with a lone striker work for you.

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Real Madrid's case (probably Chelsea's as well) is an interesting topic to understand the sociological (and economical) changes in the football's world.

Florentino Pérez, president of the club and one of the richest men in Spain (he owns ACS, a massive public works and building firm) started up several years ago by signing up Figo. A splendid player who was starting his decadence and, that was the main point, who escapes from Barcelona (the eternal rival) and comes over to Real Madrid.

The following year, Zidane, probably the best player in the last decade but who was a bit too old... Then Ronaldo (probalby the best acquisition), then Beckham, Owen, this last year the Brazilian Robinho...The "galactic" team!

Splendid players but no team at all. Who cares about Figo and Beckham are used to playing in the same area of the field? Who cares about Owen has no room to play with Ronado and Raúl? The point is selling Beckham's shirts. Who cares about a proper preparation before the kick-off of the league? Real Madrid travels around Asia in July and August... Just imagine how many shirts of Beckham can be sold in China!

Meanwhile, the last two years were an utter wash-out. A lot of old players: Roberto Carlos, Zidane... and not so old ones like Raúl, but who had been playing on top competition since they were seventeen years old.

And the British players? Owen was very useful, but you cannot compare him with Ronaldo (in my view, the best center forward in the world). Poor Woodgate came to Madrid injured and has been seventeen months without playing. Last week he played again and scored a goal... in Real Madrid's goal and was expelled after two yellow cards. Anyway, Santiago Bernabéu's public gave him an ovation when he left the pitch.

And Beckham... I have to confess that I didn't like him before coming over to Real Madrid. I was quite sceptical about his contribution to the team. Nevertheless, I like him now. He is a very honest player and has found his place in the team. He is unpretentious and knows that he is not Zidane.

What about this season? If the current coach, Luxemburgo, a Brazilian, manages to build up a real team... we can win any tournament... Otherwise, Real Madrid will be the "galactic" team who nobody is afraid of.

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Yesterday, after a splendid first half and a poor second, Real Madrid won Olimpiakos (not the best team in Europe)

The best in the match: Beckham (he finally played in the "his" place in the pitch)

Raúl scored the first goal. He is now the top scorer in Champions League history (50 goals)... the second: Alfredo Di Stefano.

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Perez has followed a policy of buying "names" whether or not they fit in with the rest of the team. As JC said, Zidane is a brilliant player -- there are few more pleasurable to watch playing the "beautiful game" -- but he simply never fully fit into the Madrid style of play. The same's really true of Beckham. Luxemburgo is full of these crytpic sayings which have caused much hilarity in the sporting press here. Lately he's been talking about the "magic triangle" or something (no one's quite clear what it means including most of the team!). He said Real Madrid would "never" play with players out on the wings. This, of course, is the one position at which Beckham excels, as was shown by his play last night when, playing on the wing, he was all that stood between Real Madrid and an embarrassing defeat by a second-rate Greek team...

Since Perez has become president, Real Madrid has constantly underperformed. Consiering the amount of money they've spent on "galacticos", they ought to have won EVERYTHING, and they just haven't...

Compare that with the excellent start to the season enjoyed by Madrid's thrid team, Getafe. Under strong leadership from ex-Real, Athletico & Barcelona player Bernt Schuster, and with a team composed enitely of youngesters and cast-offs, they're right up there among the leaders. Everyone knows it won't last, but it does show that sometimes disciplined team-play can beat a side full of "stars".

I'd also agree with JC that Beckham's popularity here has a lot to do with his unassuming nature. He always downplays his own contribution and praises "team efforts" -- even when there is very little of it to be seen. My wife teaches at the school his son attends and reports that he's never pushy or anything but polite, and that he's often to be seen playing with his son and chatting to other parents in the playground.

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Luxemburgo is full of these crytpic sayings which have caused much hilarity in the sporting press here. Lately he's been talking about the "magic triangle" or something (no one's quite clear what it means including most of the team!). He said Real Madrid would "never" play with players out on the wings. This, of course, is the one position at which Beckham excels, as was shown by his play last night when, playing on the wing, he was all that stood between Real Madrid and an embarrassing defeat by a second-rate Greek team...

I cannot understand coaches who do not play wingers. They are crucial for getting behind packed defences. Nor are they a luxury, modern wingers, do their fair share of defensive work. It is definitely Beckham’s best position, although he prefers to play in the centre. Man Utd have definitely missed his crosses since he left. However, he would not be in my England team. Wright-Phillips would get my vote.

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Haven't seen enough of Wright-Philips to make a judgement. But if you'd seen Beckham's crosses last night, I think you'd perhaps change your mind. It was as if the ball was on a piece of string 60 yds long and added a whole new dimension to the game...

I don't think he PREFERS to play in the middle. I thinks he's been told, both at club and country level, that he HAS to play in the middle and is too much of a team player to complain...

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Luxemburgo is full of these crytpic sayings which have caused much hilarity in the sporting press here. Lately he's been talking about the "magic triangle" or something (no one's quite clear what it means including most of the team!).

Mike,

Are you able to understand Luxemburgo's long speeches? Please, let me know because I cannot grasp any word!

"Magic rhombus" is the brilliant invention! It sounds like a sort of bra's advertisement

I cannotunderstand coaches who do not play wingers. They are crucial for getting behind packed defences. Nor are they a luxury, modern wingers, do their fair share of defensive work. It is definitely Beckham’s best position, although he prefers to play in the centre. Man Utd have definitely missed his crosses since he left. However, he would not be in my England team. Wright-Phillips would get my vote.

Beckam is now at his best in Real Madrid. In my view, he is the most important player of the team in the last matches.

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Beckam is now at his best in Real Madrid. In my view, he is the most important player of the team in the last matches.

Juan Carlos

Playing on the wing!

Yes, he was impressive on Sunday. Beckham is probably the best crosser of the ball in world football. However, he is a liability against the best sides. He can no longer get back and help his full-back defend against good wingers. He also needs a lot of space in order to deliver his long, accurate passes. If he is tightly marked he becomes a very ineffective player. Especially as he is incapable of turning a player or going past them on the outside. That is why he should not be playing for England (Joe Cole or Shaun Wright-Phillips are far more effective players against good sides than Beckham). For example, there is no way that Beckham would get in the Chelsea side.

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  • 4 months later...

Real Madrid seem to be having a bad season. From what I have seen on the television, Barcelona seem to be a very superior team. I was fairly impressed with them against 10 men Chelsea. However, I am not sure their defence will be good enough if Chelsea really take them on.

Real Madrid were also very poor against Arsenal. The coach obviously had not been watching Arsenal in our Premiership. The problem for Arsenal is that they have been rumbled. All the teams in the Premiership know how to play against them. Two banks of four, set deep, with a goalkeeper working as a sweeper. They also need to be closed down straight away so they don’t get time to play. Using these tactics, even average teams can beat them (Newcastle, West Ham, Blackburn, etc.)

Real Madrid gave them far too much time on the ball. Real Madrid allowed Arsenal to play and they therefore looked impressive. Against Blackburn they looked very ordinary.

I think I should warn you Juan Carlos, our new member, Dan Lyndon, is a passionate Arsenal fan. You might get some ribbing if you also lose the second leg.

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Real lost again this weekend against a very mediocre team who, as a result of the win, climbed clear of the relegation zone. They played poorly and didn't deserve to win.

Having said that, the playing conditions were appalling, and the goal the did score was a header from an inch-perfect free kick from Beckham who seems to be the only player on the team at the moment playing anywhere near his potential...

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Real lost again this weekend against a very mediocre team who, as a result of the win, climbed clear of the relegation zone. They played poorly and didn't deserve to win.

Having said that, the playing conditions were appalling, and the goal the did score was a header from an inch-perfect free kick from Beckham who seems to be the only player on the team at the moment playing anywhere near his potential...

The common view is that Real Madrid is too old and unwilling to do the running needed. One thing that I have noticed is that British teams seem to be fitter than their foreign opponents. To be successful in the Premiership you need to be extremely fit. It is noticiable that the teams like Blackburn, West Ham, Bolton and Wigan that have all done well this season, are probably the fittest in the league.

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