At FC Barcelona, there’s a constant attempt to not only distinguish themselves from Real Madrid in terms of approach and long-term planning, but also from the rest of the footballing world. The Gareth Bale acquisition is the perfect opportunity to take a shot at the spending and business handling of their greatest rivals.
What does it matter if a team pays €57 million for a player (Barcelona for Neymar) or €100 million for one (Gareth Bale to Real Madrid)? Apparently, for some, it’s the difference between right and wrong, and the approach of promoting as many youth players as possible to the one limiting the number of home grown players in the lineup between 1 and 0.
It’s not that Real Madrid don’t have a talented youth system, with Alvaro Morata and Jese waiting for more and more chances they seem to be getting from Ancelotti. It’s just that it’s easier to sign players than have the patience to develop them. If there’s one thing Real Madrid haven’t excelled in, ever, is having patience.
This season alone, besides Bale, they’ve spent quite a lot of money on Isco and Illarramendi. Barcelona? They signed Neymar, but their lineup includes, usually four or five players at least that grew up from within the club. While that’s the approach you’d like to see from almost every club in the world, not every club has the ability to concentrate this amount of talent under one roof from a very young age.
Sandro Rosell is using the international break to heat up the rivalry between the the Clasico teams. Once mentioning that his club would have never paid such a fee for a player, no matter how good he was, and then talking about how Real Madrid never gave up on Neymar and even gave the player a medical before Barcelona completed the deal.
The purpose? Trying to make Florentino Perez and Real Madrid look bad, nothing more. When there are no matches to play, words do the damage and the battles for club presidents, while players are busy getting their nations into the world cup.
The surprising thing about Bale was the price, but not the fact that Real Madrid actually went and overspent to get a player they want. At the basis of their “failure” over the last five years is their refusal to learn from their biggest rivals. The need to show that no other club is bigger in terms of pull and star power has left them behind in the race for what’s really important: winning trophies.