Remember those trips to the candy shop with your mom and buying bag full of candies and the feeling ‘I cannot ask for anything more’. And while going back home the anxiety felt by a kid to start eating up the candies is just incomparable but all that turns into nightmare when you reach home and mom says only four candies for now. But the nightmare starts actually when you have to start thinking which 4 candies to choose out of the 100s of them in the bag. Why I just shared this part of every human’s young days is actually a situation that Real Madrid might have to face this coming season? You know there are 14 midfielders in the squad fighting for four places that is actually more than 3 players for one place hence the decision-making of Mourinho has to be error free.
This 22 yr old third generation Turkish-German midfielder in his first season at the Bernabeu has earned the reputation of being a class act with his final passes and free-flowing style of play. Still a work in progress at Madrid but his display in only his first season as the All White has shown to the world this attacking midfielder has all the keys to open any defensive door in the world. This German midfielder brings improvisation and finesse to the midfield and with his powerful and magical left foot at such a young age he already plays like a midfield maestro.
If you really want to know the value of this Spanish midfield maestro go ask Steven Gerrard what Liverpool misses the most right now? Xabi brings experience and leadership to the midfield plays of Real Madrid something that had really been missing since the departure of Claude Makelele. He initially dazzled the Kopites with his incredible vision and a knack to pass and his long-range shooting ability and he is doing the same for the Madridistas, surely an integral part of Real Madrid midfield and Mourinho’s plans.
Angel Di Maria
In his first year only Di Maria has proved to be such a great asset for the team. Angel is a versatile left winger with a powerful and thunderous left foot who is also comfortable enough to play on the right-wing or as a second striker. He also holds the record for provoking most number of penalties in La Liga last season all because of his speedy nature and his ability to penetrate any defense with great ease. The lean figured Argentinean is another player who still has a lot of room to grow but already has won huge accolade at Club and National level.
The German International Khedira is a dynamic player developed in the perfect mould of a defensive midfielder. Khedira is known for his ground coverage, his aerial ability and the ease with which he can transform from being a defender to an attacker. Khedira came to the world stage after the unfortunate injury to German maestro Ballack when he came on as a substitute in the 2010 World Cup and now the world knows he caught that chance with both his hands. Another of the new joinee last year he proved to play pivotal roles in the team along with Xabi and turned out to be a guy who had the full trust of Mourinho. Surely a player who would grow stronger as season goes by.
Yes I am talking about the Brazilian maestro, I am sad to see him in this part of the article but serious knee injury led to the free fall of the former Rossoneri. But the positive part was we were able to see his magic flow at the end of last season when he got some playing time after recovering from his injury. For me there is no one in the world who can control the tempo of the game as Kaka can he is the perfect orchestrator. His vision is unparalleled, his ability to attack is unstoppable and his shooting ability is a fear factor for opponents all this makes this 29 yr old a dream asset for any team and which makes him a complete package. Hope he gets the playing time to prove his caliber and gets back to his magical ways.
He is a 22 year old German born Turkish, he is part of the Bundesliga champions 2010-11 Borussia Dortmund team and he was also honoured with the player of the season award in the very same season, so yes Sahin’s achievement precedes him at Bernabeu. At Dortmund Sahin was known for his ability to finesse or power the ball with his left foot, boy with great vision and master of freekick (is Ronaldo job in danger??), I hope he is able to polish all these ability for the betterment of his career and club.
Jose Maria Callejon
Former Real Madrid Castilla, I am happy and proud to say Callejon is a Real Madrid academy product who has been bought back from Espanyol after a thunderous performance he displayed last season. Callejon also holds the record of being the most fouled player in Liga BBVA so now we have the most and second most fouled player in La Liga second being Di Maria. And same as Di Maria Callejon can play on either of the flank and has great dribbling skill and speed, surely a very good buy for Real Madrid this summer.
Esteban Granero Molina
I really hope this is the season that ‘The Pirate’ makes his name as a Blancos for me he is the most versatile and talented player that Madrid has. Granero can play on either of the flanks might not be very speedy but very highly skilled or play as a central midfielder distributing the ball with great ease or may be as an attacking midfielder the position at which he performed extremely well at Getafe. Granero is another of the Real Madrid academy product and is known for his down to earth personality, he is a creative workhorse with extremely powerful kicks. And yes another youngster who adds to the shine of the club.
|Madridista||Games Played||Goals||Assist||Steals||Passes Completed/Total Passes|
|Angel Di Maria||35||6||11||91||889/1293|
|Jose Maria Callejon||36||6||7|
Other challengers include:
Hamit Altintop: He is a perfect multi utility player who can play as an attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder or may be also as centre back. With him he brings a lot of European experience to Bernabeu specially after playing for 8 season in Bundesliga with Schalke and Munich.
Fernando Gago: I always thought Zidane’s number 5 jersey should have been retired after the maestro hung up his boots cause after him no one has been able to wear that jersey without being injury prone. And sadly injury is what has hit Gago’s promising career as a Los Merengues. He is now on loan to ROMA.
Lass Diarra: You ever see him on that green turf you would never see him standing he shall cover each blade of grass that is the kind of workhorse ability that defines Diarra. A defense master when it comes to tackling and a skilled attacker when required is the perfect combination to complete Lass.
Royston Drenthe: The speedy Dutchman has never been able to settle well at Bernabeu but performed extremely well while on loan at Hercules but that part of his career also ended on a sour note. So he is back again and is all set to prove himself in the eye of Mourinho. He is now on loan to Everton.
As for Canales he is going on Loan to Valencia for 2yrs and Pedro Leon is set to end his dull spell at Madrid by returning to Getafe on loan.
Now that the midfield candidates are known its upto Jose Mourinho to make the decision who to play, but her I have three formation that Mourinho might decide to implement on the field.
The Established Formation
This formation is the tried and tested one with Khedira and Alonso used both for attack and defense while Ozil and Di Maria would be taking care of the flank. In the there has to be a great connection between with Alonso and Khedira that they should know when to attack and when to defense or one wrong mistake and they might leave the defense open for counter attack. And with the signing of Sahin &Callejon in the side Sahin can replace Khedira and Callejon can replace Di Maria if needed.
Suffocation Formation against Tiki-taka architects
This is the formation we have seen Mourinho using last season against Barcelona which was actually a perfect formation until the sending off of Pepe. For a team which follow Tiki-taka style of play you need people like Pepe in your side who can destroy plays and make the perfect interceptions. A player like Pepe who is always full of energy is perfect for that defensive midfielder position but its upto Pepe where he targets his energy is it for making unnecessary lunges or for making the perfect tackles. But the essence of this formation can only be achieved if all the six players at these six positions are able to maintain constant energy throughout the game to keep pressing and exerting pressure on the opposition side.
Experimental Formation against weak sides
With 14 midfielders in the side this is where Mourinho comes into advantage he can easily experiment with the players with teams from the bottom half. As you can see in the formation you can see three of the new signings in the midfield and these are the matches which would give the new signings a chance to prove their worth to the Manager. It’s not much of an attacking formation so in a way Mourinho would not be taking anything for granted but at the same time the pace of Coentrao and Callejon can make all the difference. And the presence of the magical Kaka Callejon, Coentrao and Ronaldo will get the perfect passes. Talking about Sahin he has played at this position for Dortmund also but the issue comes as we know both these players that is Sahin and Xabi need space to make their moves so the only drawback that I see is if these two midfielder start intruding in each others space that is where problem would begin. And the presence of Coentrao brings another important advantage to the mind which can be used in all the formation he actually an established left back so that gives an ease for Marcelo to attack while the Portuguese can easily slip into the LB position.
Champions League Formation against European sides other than Spanish:
Yes you can see it right its Altintop the only reason for him being in that side is because of his vast experience on the European stage which helps him in good reading of the game. Ozil is perfect when playing through the middle because he is just too good when sending out passes which drill through the defense. The speed and skills of Di Maria and Ronaldo make them one of the best wingers any club can have. And ever experienced Alonso just adds a feather to the hat. This formation is more on a defensive side the only reason being the attacking rate of clubs from England and Portugal is too high and they like attacking with inch perfect through balls and when he have readers of the game like Xabi and Altintop that would make life bitter for the opponent. At the same time it being a defensive formation which doesn’t go with the name like Real Madrid Ozil has to be the bridge which joins the two lines of attack.
There is another player i would want to talk about and yes he is another of our new signings:
I call him JACK OF ALL TRADE AND GOOD AT ALL and seeing the pre-season matches it seems this is the reason why he has been bought by Mourinho. Mourinho has experimented with the Portuguese at almost all the positions in the team including Left-back, Left-Midfield, Central-Midfield, Attacking- Midfielder and that is one of the reason I have not included him in the tactics displayed above. And best part is he has performed unbelievably well in all the position, this is the kind of versatility which can make Real Madrid very dangerous against all opponents.