As he returned to the helm as President of Real Madrid, following massive successive unsuccessful seasons and the club falling behind to Barcelona in football relevance, Florentino Perez once again initiated a project much like the one he oversaw from 2001 to 2005, the galacticos.
After his first spell ended in disarray, Florentino Perez returned as club president of Real Madrid in 2009 and quickly restarted his galacticos project bringing in Cristano Ronaldo for a world record fee alongside Kaka, Karim Benzema and Alonso. In 2010 he even brought in a superstar manager in Mourinho and continued in signing superstars, Khedira and Ozil joined as well as Angel Di Maria and in 2011 it was and Coentrao and Nuri Sahin then 2012 was the year of Luca Modric, and in 2013 he broke the world record transfer fee for the fourth time when he brought in Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspurs, Illiaramendui and Also joined and this season, Kroos and James Rodriguez have been added to that list over 5 years Perez has assembled a team of International superstars that is worth 540 million euros.
While in an attacking sense, Madrid are simply sensational, Perez seems to still suffer from the same problems he had in the first galacticos projects; devaluation of defensive players of all the players he has brought in since 2009 only Illaramendi, Albiol, Khedira,Carvalho, Carvajal, Coentrao and Arbeloa have been defensive players either defensive midfielders or defenders as compared to the 14 attacking players he has brought in during the same period. Also, he spent over 100 million euros twice on wingers and a further 65 million euros on Kaka and 75 million euros on James but his most expensive defensive acquisition till date is Coentrao at 27.8 million euros. And don’t say defenders aren’t expensive because PSG paid 50 million euros each for Silva and Luiz and Manchester united paid 40 million euros for Ferdinand in 2002! Let’s just hope that like it did between 2004 and 2008, their defensive lapses don’t catch up with them because no matter how much you score, you can’t win if you keep conceding.
Perez also provides his managers with the unwanted task of managing the biggest egos and highest earning players in the world. While in clubs like Manchester United Rooney is king and he is closely followed by Van Persie because of their financial value and on field contribution, Ozil is king in Arsenal, Ribery is king and is followed by Robben at Bayern, and legends and like Messi in Barca and Gerrard in Liverpool are king and can be controlled by managers, In Madrid there are just too many kings, I mean sure, C. Ronaldo is the top dog but most of these players were kings from their respective clubs, Modric and Bale from Spurs, Isco from Malaga, James from Monaco and not forgetting Madrid’s fan favorite Casillas who is a king in the Spanish eyes. There is usually too much ego in the dressing room for one manager to take care of, even the great Mourinho couldn’t keep all the egos at bay and eventually had to go.
The final problem is balancing. Perez brings in so many players who play in similar positions but play such different styles that it often leads to having a good team sheet read but very disjointed performances because while players like Modric, Isco, Ronaldo and Bale like direct and pacey football, Alonso, Kroos, Benzema and Di Maria rather enjoy holding the ball and playing build up play. But you can’t bench 200 million euros because the other 200 million euros don’t play their style. Again Perez doesn’t deal with this, that’s the curse of his appointed head coach.
So while the world may marvel at the Assembly of stars that is the galacticos 2.0, keep in mind that like every great team before them, they have weaknesses and these weaknesses may wery well be their undoing.