Monday, June 18, 2007

Ciao Beckham

Much love David . . . now make a goal for L. Ron
It's goodbye for Goldenballs as he begins his new career as ambassador of sock-ah (for the kids, of course) after helping los Merengues (along with Man U throwaway Ruud van Nistelrooy) to their first piece of silver in four years. In February, Fabio Capello was dead man walking, reportedly having resigned as Real Madrid's Champions League hopes were extinguished. After Becks' decision to count his fortune in Los Angeles instead of Madrid, both club president Ramon Calderon and Capello had nothing but shit to talk about the "disgraced" England skipper as he was seemingly losing pace and looked ineffectual.

Fast forward four months (with only one loss in their last 17 matches), and Becks was making a much-deserved victory lap around the Bernabeau, wrapped in an England flag as his wife watched from the stands with an elfin Tom Cruise wearing ridiculously large sunglasses (it's a night game, you schmucks) beside his vessel of Thetan spawn, Katie Holmes. Nobody seemed to care that it was the Arsenal castaway Jose Antonio Reyes, and the youth of the team that sealed the deal for Capello and Co, choosing to focus on the superstar midfielder with a penchant for dead ball magic. A wonderful build-up of play with Ruud's replacement, Gonzalo Higuian, and Robinho lead to Reyes' equalizing goal, and a powerful header from Mahamadou Diarra that bounced in off of Mallorca's man at the post did enough to silence Barcelona fans, who were watching their team thump Gimnastic 5-1. After the first goal, Mallorca sat back, trying in vain to defend a draw, a tactic perhaps more due to the overall skill level of the mid-table club than the 3M euros paid to them from Barcelona.

It's hard to see the departure of David Beckham and Roberto Carlos as anything but good for the future of Real Madrid. While Capello's future with the club may be unclear, we can see what madristas can look forward to after the last remnants of the Galictcos are gone from the pitch. While Carlos can be effective and dangerous in attack, for me, he embodied the porous nature of the Real Madrid backline, despite some big names back there. And, as soon as they move from the one-dimensional (albeit brilliant) attack of Becks, we should see the full effect of the team's youth. If Robinho, Reyes, Higuain and Diarra stick around for awhile, as well as Fabio Capello, Barcelona's got some legitimate competition in the next few years. If there's anything Ramon Calderon can do to further alienate himself from los Galicticos of Florentino Perez, it's to stick with the gaffer and allow the much-awaited youth to write another chapter for the Spanish giants.

Beckham's farewell cut short but he still departs a winner [Guardian Unlimited]
Seasons in the sun: how Beckham fared in Spain [Times Online]


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