The word Galactico synonymous with Real Madrid. It is used to describe expensive and world famous players that join the club. Madrid seems to purchase one of these every summer and last summer was no different. Signing Cristiano Ronaldo for a world record fee of £80m along with Kaka in an estimated £56m move showed that Madrid still attracts the best players and are willing to break the bank for world-class talent. There is no doubting the individual class of both players but they were brought to work in tandem so that they could destroy teams, domestically and in Europe, with their superior attacking qualities. The question is has it worked out that way?
Zinedine Zidane, who now works at Real as an advisor, has been commenting on Kaka. He claims that the Brazilian, more than Ronaldo, is struggling at Madrid. He said: “It is not that he has not adapted, but it’s something that happens to everyone, as it happened to me. He is having a bit of a bad spell, but I am certain that he will triumph at Real Madrid.” On a personal level Ronaldo has played well, if not continuing where he left off with Manchester United, and has the ability to shine by himself, the problem is that the two of them together have not clicked. After all, learning how to play together is an art in itself no matter how good you are. They were primarily signed to make Madrid the world’s leading club again. How much of that pressure has taken its toll on Kaka and Ronaldo? This increases even more now because the club has been dumped out of the Champions League- having not won the competition since 2002.
The pair have not linked up well together mainly because of an early season injury to Ronaldo and the lack of form shown by Kaka. However, if the pair are not really firing even then it would feel impossible, and take a brave move, to leave one of them out of the starting line-up. The 4-4-2 formation is something that they have not come to terms with because their game is to do with drifting around the attacking end of the pitch and watching La Liga gives the impression that both try to do too much- almost getting in each others way. The Madrid philosophy has always been to entertain but since leaving United and AC Milan the two players have changed their own style of play. They are trying to become team players, more so Ronaldo than Kaka, because there are other stars in different areas of the pitch but the Brazilian and the Portuguese are the best players at the club.
Speaking of their previous clubs, at United the team was designed to rotate around Ronaldo and Kaka played in the Serie A which is slower than La Liga so he may be struggling to adjust to the pace of the game having played in Italy for some considerable time. Their off the pitch lifestyles could not be any more different. Whilst Ronaldo loves the fame and enjoys the celebrity feel to being a footballer, Kaka is one who seems happy to stay at home with his wife and young child. Kaka’s quiet nature seems to be reflecting his performances in connection with a loud and noticeable Ronaldo. But the Brazilian does seem intent on stating that both can be a success together, he said: “Cristiano Ronaldo and I are friends; we understand each other inside the field. He has an extraordinary talent and frankly we can do great things together. I continue to improve, trying new things, motivations. It’s wonderful to play with great players.”
Kaka clearly has confidence that he and Ronaldo can produce the goods, and no doubt the £80m player is also thinking the same. But the problem with being two of the top world-class players in the world is that the coaches, pundits and fans are likely to expect immediate results. Had both of them not been signed then you suspect that the other one would be standing out right now so it is up to both of them to show that they are not affected by a massive price tag and show that they can fully recapture the form they showed at their previous clubs. With Real Madrid knocked out of the Champions League, and question marks about their status in world football, there can be no better time than the present for Ronaldo and Kaka to show their greatness for the good of the club and themselves.
You can follow me on www.twitter.com/prashster