Mesut Ozil and Real Madrid: Should Barcelona Be Worried?
The signing of the German international has capped off a spectacular run of Real Madrid summer spending in which the Whites also signed Pedro Leon, Sergio Canales, Sami Khedira, Ricardo Carvalho, and Angel Di Maria. These signings have signaled the formation of a “New Galacticos“ and a Real Revolution under Jose Mourinho now seems imminent.
Barcelona, on the other hand, have not been especially active in the transfer market this term. Besides adding David Villa and Adriano to their ranks, the Blaugrana have not been successful in acquiring the services of a midfielder (read: Cesc Fabregas) to slot into the first team. But should Cules be worried just yet? Have Real Madrid become too much of a force to be reckoned with?
I think not.
Granted, Real have done a lot of re-fortification this summer, but this was still not their weak point last year; the likes of Kaka, Ronaldo, and Xabi Alonso etc. were still quality signings that made up the bulk of the first team, a squad few teams could rival.
But last year, even with all their ludicrous spending, they still lacked the “key” to unlocking the full potential of their players: cohesion.
Whereas Barcelona mastered the art of keeping possession and passing the ball a long time ago, Real Madrid are relative amateurs when compared to them and this is where they need to improve. Their so-called stars never even came close to producing anything similar to Barcelona’s eye-catching football which many other teams endeavor to play.
The Barcelona side, unlike Real Madrid, isn’t based on 11 multi-million dollar signings that have been put on the same pitch and told to “play.”. No, the majority of the Barca starting 11 comprises of players who have risen through the ranks at La Masia and slowly earned their right to play in the first team.
Thus, the Barca team formed as a result is a closely-knit bunch in which every player is keenly aware of the other’s strengths (and weaknesses).
Too bad for Real Madrid something like this can’t be bought otherwise I’m certain they’d be churning out the big bucks to try and land it. This may turn out to be the one great advantage that Barcelona have over them come the start of the new La Liga season and El Clasico, when it eventually does come around.
Another cause of concern for Barca is Real Madrid’s new tactician, Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese took over the reins of Los Blancos from Manuel Pellegrini approximately two months ago and it seems he will be looking to give the Pep Guardiola a run for his money this time around.
It was Jose who came out on top the last time the two of them locked horns in the Champions League, though it can be said his tactics in the second leg were less than inspirational.
“The Special One” has not lost at home since the 23rd of Feburary 2002, a scary statistic if you think about it. Pep Guardiola has also admitted himself that Jose has a case to be called the “Best Manager in the World.”
Thus, the biggest hurdle Barca must conquer is not any single man or a material object, it is the intellect of Jose Mourinho. Something I’m confident Joseph Guardiola and his Blaugrana are extremely capable of.
-Zain R. Mian
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*Also published on The Bleacher Report (Over 2500 views and counting)