It’s been a forever since former big kid on the block Real Madrid ran the streets of the Spanish capital. Back in Madrid’s heyday, its players would run the streets after the clubs closed, kicking over trash cans and robbing people. Piles of cash were tossed at the crime scenes like business cards: Real Madrid was here.
But that was before cross-town rival Atlético Madrid brought in Diego “Cholo” Simeone to engineer a renaissance powered by all black attire and terror. Since Simeone’s return, Madrid has been left behind, with El Real regressing into the shadow of its dominant rival. Some very small children can’t even remember when the 10-time European champions could compete with their intra-city rivals.
If that wasn’t clear yesterday, today’s 4-0 battering should clarify things.
Real Madrid is in desperate need of a rethink; the former crew of rock stars need a way to get out of this funk. Atléti’s reducing them to Getafe-level relevance. Thankfully, I’m here to help:
1. Thuggery is the path to salvation
Some managers know aesthetics are secondary. People may hate, complain, or lecture about the proper way to do things, but no one argues with results. And getting results by any means necessary — including in-your-face, I’ll-slap-you-if-need-be type thuggery — is a tried and true formula, one allegedly perfected by Simeone during his ascent to King of Madrid.
It isn’t as if his players can’t play. Arda Turan? Antoine Griezman? They absolutely can. But when they need to hunker down and get the job done, Atléti don;t hesitate to get back to basics. There is a distinct level of “real” at which they keep it.
Getting a Simeone-type is the way forward for Madrid. They can’t get Simeone himself — no manager would dare take that step down — but at this point, Madrid need to embrace a Wimbledon era. People will need to bleed. Underdog apparel will need to pulled out. Madrid needs to take this beating personally, and then maybe, just maybe it will find a way to get near the top.
It may need to consider somebody like José Mourinho.
2. Remove Chicharito from the premises
“Psst, Gareth. Chicharito’s coming. Don’t move. Maybe he won’t see us.”
Arguably, Chicharito doesn’t even play soccer anymore. He simply collects a hefty paycheck (probably via direct deposit, although I’d ask for bi-weekly massive lottery checks) for watching better players try to win titles.
It’s all kind of sad considering Chicharron comes across like quite the affable gentleman who just wants to enjoy his soccer. But he has to go. Real Madrid has lost two out of the last three games in which Chicharito has played. Sure, maybe he wasn’t the reason for the losses, but when you’re in close proximity to a series of crimes, don’t blame me when I stop hanging out with you.
Today’s loss came after a recent appearance against Valencia – another El Real defeat. Clearly he’s a cancer. He needs to go to MLS.
3. Spend money, all the money
Real Madrid is a club well-known for being frugal on the open market (probably on the black market, too). They never spend top dollar for players in their prime. That needs to end now.
If possible, Madrid should try to pry Fernando Torres away from Atlético, even though it’s doubtful the Spanish heart-throb is interested in slumming it. But we all have pipe dreams, right? Florentino Pérez may decide that spending money is the way forward and start shelling out the cash for players with last names. All options need to be on the table.
4. Focus, and stop sweating 16 year olds
Imagine. You’re an adult. Like, a grown person. And everybody at your office starts obsessing over some 16-year-old so-called prodigy arriving from Norway – hypothetically speaking, of course. That’s going to destroy morale.
Realize this: You have a team of adults. And these adults — aside from Luka Modric, Sami Khedira … and Chicharito — spend time playing relatively meaningful games when not regularly losing to Atléti. They’re dedicating themselves at a level teenagers can’t even imagine. Sixteen-year-olds don’t engage in these pursuits.
Keep your 16-year-olds doing 16-year-old things. Diego Simeone would never do this. That’s why he’s the King.
5. Become a Manchester City partner
Becoming a Manchester City affiliate does have its privileges. If you have the Manchester City card, you are more than welcome to use its players, facilities, and general resources affiliated with the well-funded giants. But you must stay in network.
Think about it, Real Madrid could get access to NYCFC “players” and loanees from Manchester, New York and Australia. There’s no way Simeone could compete with that. This new Manchester City PPO health plan could end up being the insurance the club needs while clawing its way back to relevance.