La Liga Latest: Past, Present And Future Of Real Madrid8 min read
There’s generally not a season that goes by without Real Madrid being in the headlines for one reason or another.
More often than not it’s for buying another Galactico signing, or one of the world’s best youngsters. That’s certainly been the case in the summers of 2018 and 2019, and there’s a possibility of it happening again in 2020.
Last year, Vinicius Junior arrived in the Spanish capital and was quickly marketed as the ‘new Neymar.’
Having actually signed the Brazilian when he was 16 and when he had only just made his professional debut for Flamengo, a €46m outlay was seen as a real statement of intent on a player that was something special.
He wouldn’t be able to transfer to Los Blancos until he’d turned 18, but by the time he did so, there was a significant buzz surrounding Vinicius and what he would bring to the team.
Powerfully built and not frightened to take on players, he immediately endeared himself to the supporters with his willingness to get forward and stay on the front foot in matches.
Though his game had a rawness to it, there was nothing wrong with his application.
As time went on, however, questions were beginning to be asked about his chance conversion rate. His build-up play was good, as was his association with his team-mates, but when it came to putting the ball in the onion bag, there was something missing.
Before an injury in February curtailed his season, he’d managed just four goals.
With Zinedine Zidane returning, Vinicius had the opportunity to convince the Frenchman to hand him a starting berth, but his form from last season has continued into this, to the extent that it appears Real are willing to loan him out in January.
Part of the reason for that is the swift emergence of this season’s jewel in the crown, Rodrygo Goes.
Another young Brazilian, signed from Santos for a fee similar to that paid for Vinicius, Rodrygo has taken to Spanish football like a duck to water.
After scoring on his league debut, he added a Champions League hat-trick against Galatasaray. As many goals in a handful of games as it took Brazilian U20 colleague, Vinicius, to score in a season.
Talk about taking your opportunity!
What’s interesting to note is that Rodrygo is a lot more economical in his play. Keeping things simple is one of the hardest things to do in football, but the youngster already seems to have nailed it.
Zidane announced Real Madrid's related list without the presence of Vinicius Júnior for the match against Galatasaray tomorrow.
Vinicius Junior's loss of space contrasts with Rodrygo's rise, I’m pretty sure of it. pic.twitter.com/CuDoGvycgd
— Hass™ (@GoatCF) November 5, 2019
Positionally he’s been spot on, and has quickly observed and put into practice when to make his runs into the box, or to pull wide and open up the pitch a little more.
He has far less physical power than Vinicius but a lot more guile. Or at least that’s how it seems at present.
The one thing he has done which his team-mate has so far failed to do, is impress Zidane.
There’s now a genuine reason to believe that he may have played his way into the front three in a Real Madrid starting XI too.
Karim Benzema is a fixture, rightly so, and it would be difficult to leave out Eden Hazard at this stage.
The Belgian does have to get his finger out too but a player of his quality will surely adapt sooner or later.
Gareth Bale looks to be out of the picture again, so if it’s a straight fight between Vinicius and Rodrygo for the remaining position, there’s only one winner at the moment.
Eventually, the front line will need another overhaul, and that could happen sooner or it might happen later.
One of the names in the frame is Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe.
The World Cup winner has set the football world alight ever since bursting onto the scene a couple of years ago, and Los Blancos really thought that they’d got his signature before he decided to plump for the Parisiens.
Despite losing that particular battle, Real have kept their interest alive by talking about Mbappe in reverential tones. So much so that PSG’s sporting director, Leonardo, has told Zidane and Co. to button it.
The most recent comment came at a press conference when Real’s coach suggested that the player himself had said that his dream was to play for Real Madrid.
Though that may be the case, Leonardo doesn’t want Mbappe to become unsettled, particularly in light of the fiasco that PSG have had to endure with Neymar. They can’t afford to go through all of that again.
When all is said and done, what Florentino Perez wants, Florentino Perez usually gets.
It’s unlikely to be an easy negotiation, and an expectation that Real would have to shatter the world transfer record to acquire Mbappe probably isn’t too wide of the mark.
But if Real want to be Kings of Europe again, then it’s a purchase they have to make.
Kylian Mbappe to sign for Real Madrid before 3rd Feb 2020