There’s a way of looking at what’s happening with Real Madrid as the eventual pause button on any serious consideration of a European Super League. Everybody in that league can’t win, creating a problem for clubs where winning is crucial to their identity. Like say, the 5th-place team in La Liga.
Real Madrid is 10 points out of 1st-place, a spot held by their old friends Barcelona. Their city rivals Atletico are in 2nd-place, compounding Real’s identity crisis. It’s worth the reminder that we’re talking about the reigning Champions League winners, now down coach Zinedine Zidane and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Whether or not there was any chance at like-for-like replacements, Real Madrid’s season stalled early. Another coaching change, and Real Madrid is trying to figure out how to win home and away.
They don’t have a lot of time to get things right before the next biggest game on their schedule. Home and away against a surging Ajax in the Champions League round of 16 in February. Staying in the Champions League is the obvious way for Real Madrid to salvage their season, but Ajax is not only an obstacle, they’re the team with a prodigy in Frenkie de Jong. Barcelona is reportedly in the market for his services. Barcelona now has their own issue after losing 2-1 at Levante in the Copa del Rey.
For any super club, the situation is constant. Spend to meet expectations or risk getting left behind. When we’re talking about the small number of teams really in contention for the Champions League title, left behind is relative. It’s scraping it out to finish in the Champions League places domestically. That’s Real Madrid’s situation right now and the only way to improve it is to win.
Easier said than done given Real Madrid’s situation. Reloading in January is no safe bet, with Real Madrid supporters still asking why the club didn’t spend over the summer. Now imagine this same scenario across a dozen teams in a locked league of European super clubs. That’s the challenge for any version of a super league where all clubs can’t be winners.
Goal’s Peter Staunton asks whether the transfer fee for Cristiano Ronaldo was worth it for Real Madrid. The Athletic’s Nando Vila reports from Real’s Bernabeu stadium where attendance is now an issue. The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace considers Real Madrid’s situation in La Liga.
Soccer America’s Mike Woitalla relays USSF chief sport development officer Nick Romeijn’s comments on the potential for MLS teams not participating in the US Soccer Developmental Academy.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson on what is changing at Manchester United under new management. FourFourTwo’s Seb Stafford-Bloor asks about a scenario where interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer becomes irreplaceable.
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