There was always going to be some degree of risk in spending almost 200 million euros on new players but this was a risk Real Madrid were willing to take last summer. The club, functioning under Galactico-loving Florentino Perez once again, decided that the best way to dislodge Barcelona from their dominant position was to buy every top class player they could lay their hands on – regardless of the price. Real risked the possibility of big money flops in doing so, so how have the big money signings settled in?
The first signing to arrive at the club was the Brazilian maestro from AC Milan; Kaka made a decent if unspectacular start to life at Real but is still yet to look anything like the player he did for Milan, though that’s understandable given the different role he now has and since he is no longer his club’s main man. Kaka’s performances are better than the lack of talk about him would suggest though and Real look much better when the Brazilian is on the field.
The second to arrive was Valencia defender Raul Albiol with Florentino Perez signing a defender in a very rare move for him. Signing Albiol (for 15 million euros) didn’t represent much of a gamble as he’s established in the league and everyone in Spain knows of his quality. Unsurprisingly he’s been solid for Real so far and looked a very capable defender.
Well, what to say about Real’s third signing? Signed for a world record £80 million a lot was expected of Ronaldo; and he’s not failed to deliver, transferring his fine goalscoring form and dribbling skills from Manchester United to Real with ease and already he’s regarded as their most important player by a long way and is idolised by the fans. No question about what he is…
Verdict: Definite Hit
Benzema’s pricetag always looked steep for a striker who’d never played out of France but Real weren’t put off and beat Man United to his signing to give Raul a new strike partner at the expense of former-goal machine Gonzalo Higuain. Benzema started okay, scoring a few early on, but has overall looked out of his depth in La Liga and hasn’t proven the goalscoring threat the club expected him to. Rumours of a departure from the club have already started to circulate and he’s far from Mr. Popular at the Bernabeu.
Arbeloa, the cheapest of Real’s signings, was always likely to do well for them simply because he’s a proven defender and they signed him so cheap, meaning that even if he did do poorly they hadn’t lost much on him. The right back has generally had to play on the left, because dropping Sergio Ramos is hard to do, but he’s not complained and done a solid enough job there – although he’s not the attacking threat Real may want from their full backs.
Alonso’s signing was met with a lot of excitement; Rafa Benitez may not have rated Alonso that highly prior to his fine season last year but Real have always had their eye on the former Real Socidad man and are delighted to have finally gotten him. Alonso’s been transformed into a defensive midfielder to sit next to Lassana Diarra and has been a regular in the team, looking fairly solid alongside Diarra and displaying his usual fine range of passing.
And there you have it, Real’s big spending has produced a number of hits with only Benzema disappointing, not bad given the amount of players they brought in. I haven’t mentioned Esteban Granero as he’s not really a big signing but he would be something of a hit if I did give a verdict on him. The additions have really helped Real and their title fight with Barcelona looks set to go down the wire, exciting times in La Liga!
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