The 5-0 Clasico loss was expected but still a bitter pill to swallow for most Madridistas. The manner of the defeat and the way the team played raised serious questions regarding the progress of this team. If steps are being taken to improve the quality of the squad in order to compete with the elite teams in Europe.
The manager Alberto Toril keeps talking about time and patience needed to take the next step but regardless four years is still a lot of time to make significant steps and improve the team massively.
In my opinion these are the areas that the club needs to address in order to make strides as we aim to become a major European force.
1. KEEP THE PLAYERS WORTH KEEPING.
While contract renewal negotiations are usually a tricky and messy situation with mitigating off field factors between player, Club and agents. It is imperative that the Club maps a plan and process to determine who stays of goes based on team structure.
For the last three years Real Madrid have gotten it terribly wrong, keeping players who need to go and doing the opposite with important players who contribute to the team. A good example are the cases of Asllani, Jakobsson and Cardona, Players who were competing in the highest level and would’ve massively improved the team in mentality and ability.
Where Real Madrid get it wrong is looking at the money, and player power issues instead of directing focus on how to make the squad better. It is a well-known fact that for you to get top quality players money has to be spent either in renewal of your star players or buying quality players.
There are 13 players whose contracts expire by the end of this season and by my count only seven deserve a renewal thus far, Feller, Misa, Teresa, Athenea, Toletti, Svava & Raso. We cannot afford to keep players who won’t contribute or are not at the required level to perform in big matches.
A good example is Caroline Møller, whilst she can be a valuable squad member keeping her on a 2-year contract when she barely plays is not smart, furthermore it’s highly unlikely she will be sold for value a year into her contract. Shaping up your squad to cater for the needs of your style of play is of utmost importance. Teresa and Signe Bruun are good examples of this. Whilst they are good quality players it’s important to weigh their strengths and weaknesses and align them with the team.
A big reason why Teresa struggles at Madrid and flourishes in Spain is that she is a possession oriented player and playing her in a team that counter attacks against big teams is not going to yield any productivity from her, similarly Bruun who is a prolific striker and one that has the profile that the team needs is best utilized when we are dominating play or coming in late in the second half when playing teams that have more possession than us.
2. SIGN THE RIGHT PLAYERS AND MANAGERS THAT SUIT OUR STYLE OF PLAY.
While the men’s team has perfected the art of signing the right players with a high ceiling to be world class the same cannot be said about the women’s team. This is because the two sections are being run by two different people with different ideas (more on that later).
While getting the right managers in Real Madrid has been a problem all Real Madrid sections since time in memorial (as the club focuses more on man management that a tactically astute manager in most cases), therefore getting the right manager will always cause division among fans and the club itself, this is also dependent on the dressing room and which players are in there, a tactically brilliant manager might not get along with the players at his or her disposal due to his poor man management (a good example is Jose Luis Sanchez Vera at Atletico Madrid Femenino) and vice-versa. This is a very difficult thing to balance and, in most cases, very few managers have perfected both qualities, traits that are often overlooked and are extremely important in management as is well documented when David Aznar was at the helm.
Real Madrid has always excelled as long as the players signed fit the way we play. We have always been a club that adapts to different styles based on our opponents, possess and dominate if we have to, play on the counter and be difficult to break down and beat if we have to, and that is hugely dependent on signing players in midfield and attack who can morph into those two characters. Our midfield currently is one dimensional and only Toletti, Weir and Caicedo (the only world class players we have) are adaptable. the rest are just suited to one style of play, Maite, Teresa, Zornoza really struggle if they are not possessing the ball while Freja Siri is poor on the ball and very slow hence she struggles in both scenarios.
Our defense suffers the same problem as our Centre backs always invite pressure on us. They are poor on the ball and only know how to defend and clear the ball out of play at the slightest sign of pressure which points to recruitment being very poor. Most of the players we have were good enough for two years ago and that is the highest ceiling they can reach no matter which manager you bring as long as the players are not at the required level success will not be achieved (even Pep Guardiola changed the whole team when he arrived at City).
3. THE WOMEN’S SECTION NEEDS BETTER MANAGEMENT HIGHER UP.
This is the biggest issue that the club has to solve in order to move forward. The club is still stuck with a management that has no idea how to manage a big club and constantly makes wrong choices in recruitment, renewal of contracts and the whole management of the team. We’ve heard cases where players complained of being mismanaged during their injuries, when on maternity leave, being frozen out because of not renewing their contracts under the terms which the club wants, and lack of a clear direction and focus.
The onus is on Florentino and co to set up a better structure which would enable the women’s team to maximize their full potential. Real Madrid has the best facilities in the planet and it’s a shame that due to the lack of a good management structure, the squad is not maximizing on the huge potential in terms of talent and facilities at the disposal of the players.
A good management will instantly improve the recruitment and condition of the squad and as long as we that is not looked at, we will always finish 2nd in the league, lose in cup finals and get knocked out in the quarter finals of the Champions League.