Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Keeping It Real—Why Promoting a Canterano Might Backfire

Joselu: Scored on debut
"Ten youth teamers debut this season"Just as the last match of the season in Liga BBVA had ended for Real Madrid with a 8-1 victory over Almeria; Real Madrid's official site ran a post with the above mentioned headline, to remind us all of the greatness of Jose Mourinho—the big risk taker who despite having the pressure of winning every trophy invested in not two or three but TEN youth teamers.

What Real Madrid's official site wanted to convey didn't sit well with me, this post of ten youth teamers debuting was a way to please the fans who have been wanting to see the youth teamers with the first team, wanting to see another Raul, another Casillas, another De La Red; this post reminded me of what these debuts meant for Jose Mourinho—another way to please the fans.

I won't deny it, never have, never will—I'm not the biggest Jose Mourinho fan (but still I'm glad he is continuing with the team because he marked an amazing season with the club.). So there, you can use this against me, say that my hate for Jose Mourinho is the reason I see this as a way to please the fans. But you can't change the facts, can you?

Juan Carlos, Mateos, Antonio Adan, Pablo Sarabia, Alvaro Morata, Alex Fernandez, Nacho Fernandez, Tomas Mejias, Jesus and Joselu made their debuts for the first team this season according to the post, but lets not count Alex Fernandez because all he got was a little above 30 seconds at Racing and not single touch of the ball. So that means only nine canteranos properly debuted this season.

What makes me question Jose Mourinho's actions, and say that all these debuts were just to please the fans is because out of these nine, only two players have made more than one appearance—Adan and Nacho. Not counting Morata as despite the Levante tie in Copa del Rey being dead and buried, he only got a substitute appearance.

Sarabia: Impressive on debut
Had Mourinho been genuinely interested in using them, surely more canteranos would have gotten more than one appearance and Nacho wouldn't have been the only outfield player to get a start and play a full game; especially when Pablo Sarabia impressed in the 30 minutes he got to play against Auxerre and has been performing brilliantly for the Castilla week in and week out.

Many of these canteranos in the beginning got in the team because of Jose Mourinho's helplessness. Mateos was given a professional contract at the start of the season because, Pepe and Garay were out injured, and there was no back up in central defense.

Adan got a start because Casillas wasn't called up for the game and Dudek broke his jaw, then later Dudek's injury saw Adan make more appearances. I think you catch my drift, by the end of the season, Mourinho had realized what the impact a canterano appearance makes on the fans, still Nacho's start was more due to suspensions.

I'm not saying, I'm not thankful of Mourinho to start so many canteranos, but I'm not particularly thrilled about their future if they were used as a tool to make the fans happy. The last player to get promoted to the first team was Mateos, he was loaned out to AEK Athens in the January transfer window. I'm sure had he stayed here longer, he wouldn't have notched up 90 minutes in a season.

Talking about Mateos isn't fair, because surely there was no way he would have started over Carvalho, Pepe, Garay or Albiol. But we can definitely use Sergio Canales as an example; Canales was supposed to be going on loan this season before Jose Mourinho himself requested to keep him with the squad for the season.

We all saw what happened with him. If Sergio Canales—who had a decent season in La Liga before joining, wasn't trusted by Mourinho to get enough minutes, I don't see a way how the canteranos who play in Segunda B can gain his trust if they are promoted.

The way that Jose Mourinho has acted, promoting the canteranos is not an option that will be any good for the canteranos, because once they get promoted officially they are no longer eligible to play for Real Madrid Castilla, which will mean they're most likely to notch up 300 minutes a season at most, if they're lucky enough.

Will they be used like Higuain?
I won't complain about the canteranos getting 300 minutes if they are sent in crunch situations, like Gonzalo Higuain was when he was new at Real Madrid, during the time when the scores were level or when Real Madrid were behind; he was sent in to get a goal, get a result; that is positive reinforcement for a young player.

But how the things have gone so far, these 300 minutes will most likely come when the game's result is beyond doubt; which will hardly help build any character, they'll never be ready for the first team like this. It's better they stick with the Castilla or join another La Liga club with a buy-back clause, because that is a strategy that seems to be working.

I feel that I am being a little too harsh on Jose Mourinho, it's not exactly his complete fault that he doesn't trust the canteranos, it's a little too hard to put the blame on him when you know what kind of pressure to succeed is on him.

The man who has to be blamed for this is none other than Florentino Perez, had he not sacked Vicente Del Bosque, there wouldn't have been a period of instability at the club, and the managers would have taken the risk to give chances to canteranos.

Hala Madrid!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wolfsgang Stark & FC Barcelona: Pre-Match Team Meeting

"Go! Get HIM!
 If you are following me on Twitter, you probably know that I ran a sting operation to get my hands on the "exclusive" Barcelona pre-match & post-match team talk, and am going to publish it as 2 part post. Our reporter was in Catalonia a few days before the match, and this is EXACTLY what he saw and heard.

Location: Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper

(Pep Guardiola is rejoining the team huddle after a phone call, Pep looks pleased with himself, and starts talking with the Barcelona players.)

Pep: Just got of the phone with Michel (Platini), he had called to say he was sorry about picking the Portuguese referee without asking us first, and he was saying he would do just about anything to make it up.

Puyol: *growling like a caveman in approval*

Valdes: Has he made arrangements so we can play our game?

Pep: Yes, he has, our "special player" would be arriving to train with us soon, jejeje. Pique what are you doing? Hang up the phone and come back, we are talking here.

Pique: I was just telling Shakira to get a nose job, a bigger nose would be so much more sexy, don't you think? It looked so good on Ibra.

Pep: Didn't I tell you we don't take his name here, he broke my heart. Anyways, all of you do your stretching, then we'll start the practice with a little diving followed by some face-clutching till our friend drops by. By the way where's Villa, I don't see him.

Xavi: He's with Ramos and Arbeloa, they sent me a text saying he got drunk last night and they had to pick him up, and he's with them, they even sent me a photo, look.

Pep: He isn't their teammate, it's your duty; did you go pick David up? What did you tell them?

Xavi: I told them we are the only team that wants to play football.

Pep: ..........

Xavi: I'll go pick him up.

[Xavi leaves to get Villa while the team continue their training, they take turns diving, clutching their face and ganging up on a person, who our reporter assumes is supposed to be the referee.]

[Some time passes, our reporter notices a grown German man wearing a Lionel Messi kit reach the gates of Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper and is stopped by the security and is being thrown out when Pep Gaurdiola notices the man and intercepts. Apparently the security guards were throwing him out because they had banned him from the premises for stalking Lionel Messi during training.]

Pep: Wow, you came a lot earlier than expected, were you close by? And why were the security people stopping you from entering.

Wolfsgang Stark: Yes, I was near Messi's hom.....I was close by. By the way where's Lionel Messi, he's like the best player EVER, I want to meet him. I don't know man, they did that the last time I was here too, I was just going to the player's shower after the training to meet Messi, that's all, I still don't get why they threw me out.  Now when am I getting to meet Messi?

Pep: Umm...........yeah, I can't figure it out'll be meeting Messi soon enough, when we'll talk game strategy in a while.

Wolfsgang Stark: OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! REALLY?!

Pep: .............yeah.

[Pep and Wolfsgang Stark oversee the training (video), Xavi and Villa join the group, Pep and Stark wait for them to finish "practice" before they start the discussion.]

Pep: Okay, huddle up people, here's the "special player" I was talking about.

Puyol: *sniffs Wolfsgang Stark*

Wolfsgang Stark: Hi Leo! I am your biggest fan, can you sign my shirt, my shorts, anything?!

Pep: Can we focus?

Wolfsgang Stark: Alright. *whispers* I love you Leo.

Pep: Can I call you Wolf? Okay Wolf, as Platini might have already told you, to play our beautiful game of football, we have some special requirements that only you can provide. *winks* Aside from those we require shorter grass to play, but those bastards in Madrid just won't cut the grass, and that's why we only drew in the league, see:

Xavi: We were the only team that wanted to play football, but couldn't because of the jungle, you need to help us save people's lives, and also save the game of football Wolfgang!

Wolfsgang Stark: I'll be glad to help the team of  Leo, do you want to me get rid of Pepe? He got all over in the face of Leo, he needs to pay for his actions.

Pep: Good, good, you already know what to do, less work for me. Excellent.

Wolfsgang Stark: Can I get Messi's shirt right now?

Messi: *runs away*

[They are all sent to the showers, Wolfgang Stark follows Lionel Messi.]


Related Posts with Thumbnails