Happy New Year, OTP fans. As a treat for the start of 2011, we are going to be featuring guest posts from various writers throughout the month in a feature we’ve imaginatively entitled Guest Post January. First up is Eric Beard from AFootballReport.
As has been the case for the better part of the 21st century, drama continues to persist behind closed doors between Florentino Perez’s vacuous football mind and the Real Madrid manager. Perez, a brilliant businessman and a billionaire in his own right, has shown with his ongoing strife with José Mourinho that he still believes knows the game better than the world’s best tacticians.
For the beginning of the history of Perez’s inept managerial relationships, one does not need to look further than his firing of Vicente Del Bosque despite the now World Cup-winning manager bringing two European cups and two league titles in four seasons to the club in addition to being extraordinarily well-liked in the Real dressing room.
José Mourinho comfortably sits rights up there with Del Bosque on the lists of legendary managers, so there’s reason for Madridistas to be concerned with their new special Galactico and his relationship with Perez.
In 585 BC, Thales became the first ever man to predict a solar eclipse, though the Greeks had no record of being able to know about the moon’s orbit in great detail. That’s nice and all, but it’s mostly notable for being the sole cause of the Medes and the Lydians ending a 15 year war.
Now it has not been 15 years of peril for los merengues and one look at the Bernabeu or Cristiano Ronaldo’s scientifically enhanced hair product will tell you we’re not living before the time of Jesus, but for the few unsuccessful years the Madrid fans have experienced it may as well seem like an eternity waiting for a new messiah to come and save them from their sore habits of being secondary to the Blaugrana and the land of little Bojan.
But would a spectacular solar eclipse that darkens the heavens be enough to bring peace to the Spanish capital? Nay, not in this capitalistic, technology-driven world we live in. But what would is a new striker, someone Mourinho has been pleading with Perez and sporting director Jorge Valdano for since the summer.
Gonzalo Higuain has tragically been ruled out for the season after suffering from a herniated disc. Karim Benzema has proved inconsistent, but Valdano and Perez remain stoic and will not change their views on new signings. War looks likely to continue between the Portuguese manager and the men in suits with inflated egos and obscured visions of self-entitlement.
So how can such powerful, austere-minded figures at the club with highest revenue in the world expect to keep up with Madrid’s Catalan rivals by ignoring José’s seemingly reasonable request? Who can prevent these failing relationships from ruining Real’s run of form?
Kaká. A tragic figure in the 2010 World Cup. A leader on the pitch. A role model off it. He’s been away from top class football since Wesley Sneijder had his way with the Brazilians in the quarter-finals in South Africa, but in truth Brazil’s model professional has been playing at far less than 100 per cent for quite some time.
Seeing Kaká come on for a 20-minute cameo against Getafe on Monday night was like watching the rebirth of a phoenix. We’ve seen what the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year can do in the past. However, seeing him with a sprightly skip to his step after witnessing how ineffective he can be when being forced to play while unfit was a victory for Real Madrid and football as a whole.
Of Kaká’s return, José said: “One thing is the physical and the other is mental, but it’s fantastic news for Real Madrid, La Liga and the world of football. Kaká is a super player. It’s a great story and he is very happy.”
José seems quite content with his returning player as well. Is he satisfied with his squad? No, but he has now created the underdog dynamic by accepting that his requests have been rejected. This dynamic has been one that he thrived under at Inter, especially whilst taking down Barcelona. Without his ideal signing, José Mourinho now has an excuse to go for results rather than joga bonito.
He has already said: “We will have to build a team without Higuain. The team will have to adapt to these circumstances. Some players will have to play in positions that are not theirs and in a different system.”
As a result, we could very well see Cristiano fill in as the man highest up top. This is not his best position, but let’s be honest, he’s as good as the next guy when it comes to knocking the ball into the back of the net.
It may take a few more weeks more it to happen, as there are few as physically and technically dominant as Ronaldo that can have the presence he has on the wing, but Kaká is certainly one of the few. For the rest of the season expect direct ‘Sneijder to Eto’o-esque’ play from the lads in the all-white kits.
The eclipse has occurred and both parties have seemingly seized their verbal battles for the time being. But has a sustainable treaty been called between Perez, Valdano, and Mourinho? Not a chance. José is a man that loves a good fight, off the pitch even more so than on it.
Eric Beard is the founder and editor of AFootballReport.com, a site full of young, vibrant writers from across the world. He’s also a philosophy major at Emory University. You can follow thoughts on football (and philosophy) with him on Twitter @afootballreport.