Do you like the Traveling Wilburys? (This relates to soccer, I swear.)
Just as a refresher, the Traveling Wilburys were a supergroup with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roby Orbison, and Tom Petty. And one other dude, but no one cares about him anymore. That lineup is crazy stacked. And they were also mediocre.
Whenever people form a supergroup, it’s never as good as the parts that make it up.
Which brings us to soccer.
Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo currently form a supergroup frontline for Real Madrid.
Let’s rewind to before the derby against Atletico Madrid this weekend, back to the last time I was happy. There was talk of a conspiracy to forgive Ronaldo a potential third game of his ban. In reality, Madrid would have been stronger without him. Not because he’s bad. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen at Madrid and I’ll love him forever. It’s just that in order for a team to function, you need some random bassist. You need the no-name drummer who can tie the song together like a good rug. You need a John Paul Jones to your Jimmy Page.
For reasons that extend beyond the field of play, Real Madrid is forced to play with the BBC up front. The problem is that in real life, this is a suicidal tactic. Sure, they’ll crush 90 percent of the teams in La Liga, but against the likes of Atleti, it leaves the rest of the team too exposed.
Back in October, Madrid had an unbelievable run of games, with memorable victories against Barcelona and Liverpool. This coincided with Gareth Bale’s injury.
If Madrid hopes to win anything this season, it’ll have to make some tough decisions. I’m not holding my breath, because club president Florentino Perez would rather protect the club’s business interes than give his team the best chance of success on the field.