Perez has come into his second presidential reign with three main goals in mind; to stop the dominance of Barcelona in the La Liga, win the elusive 10th Champion’s League crown (or La Decima), and do it all while playing attacking beautiful soccer. Jose Mourinho was brought in to accomplish the first two goals, while the third was not expected from a coach who’s pragmatic style was unlikely to change.
Still he created a devastating counterattacking Real Madrid team that would be able to destroy Europe’s finest. In the end he was never able to deliver La Decima, exiting three straight times at the semi-finals stage (an achievement in itself since Real had gone out at the Round of 16 six straight seasons prior). But he did win the Liga in record-breaking fashion, tallying a record 100 points and record 121 goals scored.
However he was ultimately forced out, as his controversial fiery personality did not sit well with the dressing room and hierarchy. In his place has come Carlo Ancelotti, who is fresh of a double-winning season with Paris Saint-Germain. Ancelotti has gained a reputation as an excellent Champion’s League tactician (having won it twice with AC Milan) and also plays excellent attacking football. He has won league titles in Italy, France and England and if he wins La Liga will become the only coach other than Mourinho to win the ‘Big Three’ (Spain, England and Italy).
But its not only his penchant for beautiful attacking soccer that brought him into town, but also Perez’s desire to do so with a team of Spanish national team regulars. As of now Spain’s national team starting line-up has four Real Madrid players; Ramos, Arbeloa, Alonso and Casillas, with Arbeloa’s and possibly Alonso’s position under scrutiny after the Confederation’s Cup.
To attempt to make his Real Madrid team more “Spanish”, Perez has gone out and signed Isco from Malaga, Dani Carvajal from Bayer Leverkusen, Illarramendi from Real Sociedad and Casemiro from Sao Paulo. While Casemiro is a young player with bags of potential, his signing was relatively cheap but he is not expected to break into the team this year. However the rest of the players could be expected to heavily involved in the first team this year, helping to realize Perez’s dream of a beautiful attacking Spanish team.
Dani Carvajal is a Real Madrid youth product who was the best right back in the Bundesliga last year and he should start ahead of Arbeloa with his selection adding more pace and dynamism than the former Liverpool player did. Isco was hugely impressive for Malaga this year, especially in the Champion’s League and will challenge Ozil and Kaka for the attacking midfield role and could be Real Madrid’s version of Iniesta.
Illarramendi is another excellent youth player who is dubbed the next Xabi Alonso, who also grew up in Real Sociedad’s youth academy. He has been very impressive in the two years since Sociedad’s return to the first division, and was instrumental in helping them to secure a Champion’s League place next year before going on to star in the U-21 Euros alongside fellow teammates Isco and Morata. He can even play alongside Alonso, with his defensive abilities underrated, and can even learn under the experienced Spanish star so that he can take up the mantle when Alonso retires or leaves the club.
These signings show the intent of the club in the aftermath of the Jose Mourinho era, and if they prove anything, it is a sign of great things to come for both Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti.
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Written by Mahmoud Ghellai