Galacticos 1, Galácticos 2. The vanity projects by Florentino Perez might make Real Madrid the best jersey-selling football club on the planet, but the titles, despite the incredible turnover in stars and players, aren’t really easy to come by.
Since winning two league titles in a row under Fabio Capello and Bernd Schuster in 2007 & 2008, Real Madrid have won just one league title. Those championship teams weren’t packed with superstars. They had good players, not crowd-pleasers. They enjoyed a social collapse in Rijkaard’s Barcelona, barely winning the championship in 2007 and dominating en route to a title a year later. But then Barcelona rose from the “ashes” in 2009, with Pep Guardiola, Xavi and Andres Iniesta pulling the strings, while Lionel Messi was at the front as the most deadly vanguard ever deployed on a football pitch.
Real Madrid were left in the dust that season. Once again falling short in the Champions League (Crushed by Liverpool) and not looking remotely close to a title, especially after the 6-2 win by Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu. Things had to change, and so they did. Perez became the club president again, and the money started flowing out.
Since the 2009 summer, Real Madrid have spent €755 million on players. They’ve signed the most expensive footballer in the world twice with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. They pretty much replaced their entire lineup and then let those guys leave in favor of others. All Perez has to show for it is one league title in 2012 and a Champions League trophy in 2014.
Yes, Real Madrid got their Decima and keep finishing second behind Barcelona (usually) or third (behind Atletico Madrid). But even if they are making more money than others and remain the biggest name in the business, one that’s able to attract almost every player in the world unless Barcelona are interested in him as well (Neymar, Villa, Suarez), aren’t titles supposed to be part of that equation?
Liverpool are still a huge name, but the trophy cabinet has been filling at a very slow pace over the last 25 years, and one title is missing, painfully. Real Madrid can’t be just a big name, or famous for playing the most popular players in the world. This has to be more than a jersey, shoe or poster selling scheme. Trophies have to come, and as its been pointed out in the past, simply buying and then replacing the ones you bought with something newer, shinier, prettier and often more expensive isn’t exactly how they’re going to knock Barcelona off their f’ing perch.
Or maybe, they need to wait until Lionel Messi retires, which will obviously restore balance to the universe.