New names and players (Isco, Illarramendi and Gareth Bale???) are always exciting, but consistency of quality might be even more important for Real Madrid heading into this season, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil remaining their most important players.
Some friendly matches mean and indicate more than others, and the International Champions Cup taking place in the United States is one of the more prestigious tournaments acting as a preseason preparation, which means teams take it a bit more seriously.
Everton aren’t exactly the kind of competition Real Madrid are built to beat. A mediocre English side that will probably be weaker next season with their long time manager gone, while Roberto Martinez takes the helm. And yet a tough team to beat no matter what, the Toffees presented some sort of challenge for Real, losing “only” 2-1 despite the huge difference in anything financial between the sides.,
The goals? One by Ronaldo, one by Ozil. The assists? One by Ronaldo, one by Ozil. Two players who have been the most effective, by numbers as well, over the last few years in Madrid, and are likely to be playing in a different role than what they’re used to this season, which shouldn’t decrease the pressure off of them to succeed, or their chances of being dominant once again.
That goes without question when it comes to Cristiano Ronaldo. The chances of him not scoring at least 35 goals in the league next season are slimmer than slim. It was quite obvious that moving from the Premier League (at its best in 2009) to the Spanish La Liga will result in him having a very easy time against most defenses, with the lower half of the Spanish league not remotely close to the competitiveness of that same sector of teams in the Premier League.
Ozil? With 19 goals and 55 assists in the La Liga since arriving there’s no question as to his productivity, but there’s something missing. For some who claim he is the best attacking midfielder in the world, Ozil misses too much when he’s in the box in situations he should do much better in. There’s also these disappearing acts he pulls off for entire matches at times, when there’s a more physical approach taking to marking him.
Despite the arrival of Isco, Ozil remains the man in charge of bringing most of the flair and creativity to the Real Madrid midfield for now. Playing on the right wing will take some time adjusting to, but his ability to get behind defenses and find players heading towards these open spaces is still the best on the team, and he has probably been the best performer for Real since Carlo Ancelotti has taken over.
Ronaldo is a more simple and complex case all at one. The best player on the team and second best in the world. Nothing he does but win championships AND the Champions League will satisfy him and those waiting for him to slip. With the mission of taking pressure off of him, especially in the bigger matches, remaining possibly the one thing Ozil fails to do on an almost regular basis, this season seems to be another test for the two, combined, to show their previous time at the club was simply setting everyone up for a perfect season.