Yesterday was the first day of work for Real Madrid and Barcelona. All the players who hadn’t played Confederations Cup or for their respective National teams responded to Ancelotti and Vilanova, eager for the new season to begin. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were there; ready to start a new season and a new duel: who will win the Liga? Who will score more goals?
Isco, Illarramendi and Carvajal were also present, the three new faces of Real Madrid 2013-14, signed for a total of 80 million Euros. They will represent – together with Jesé Rodríguez, Álvaro Morata and Nacho Fernández – the Real Madrid youth revolution, promoted through young Spanish footballers. This is in stark contrast to the club’s strategy in recent times, when sometimes the team played with all foreigners. Now the priority for Real Madrid is to sell: Ancelotti does not have space for everyone, in Spain the first squads can be composed for a maximum of 25 players and today Ancelotti and Zidane have available 28. The first in going out could be Raúl Albiól (wanted by Rafa Benítez for Napoli) and Antonio Adán (the fourth goalkeeper). The Russian Denis Cheryshev (22 year old, coming from Real Madrid Castilla) is required on loan by Bayer Leverkusen and Gonzalo Higuaín is waiting for moving as soon as possible to U.K. (Arsenal and Liverpool the candidates to sign him). Once the sales are solved, Real Madrid’s management will be able to think about a last signing, having Gareth Bale, Luís Suárez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the top of their wish lists.
Barcelona’s situation is in a more advanced stage. Neymar came and David Villa left. Thiago Alcántara signed for Bayern Munich and his substitute will be young Sergi Roberto. Bojan Krkic, Rafinha Alcántara and Gerard Deulofeu have been loaned to Ajax, Celta Vigo and Everton; the next will be Afellay, Jonathan Dos Santos and maybe Isaac Cuenca. The only target from today to the end of the transfer market is a defender, with Brazilian Thiago Silva being the first on the wish list.
Both clubs, beyond who will came and who will leave, are preparing for a long season full of difficulties, where they’ll have among their opponents also José Mourinho (Chelsea) and Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich), a recent past that will be surely be a measuring stick for the rest of us to compare in the new year.
You can find Mario Cipriano on Twitter @ciprianomario