Monday, 18 June 2007


Before the euphoria dies down, before the week passes that Calderón has asked for before making public any decisions on the make-up of the squad and coaching staff for next season, before the summer transfer market speculations reach fever pitch, I thought it would be a good idea to review what we know or think is likely to happen to some of those responsible for Real Madrid's 30th league title.

Definitely leaving:

  • David Beckham - off to L.A. Galaxy after contract negotiations stalled. Was sidelined by Capello, who later recanted and brought him back. His resurgence meant a (so far) successful recall to the England squad, although he may find it difficult to justify this when playing in the MLS. Scored three goals this season and has the top number of assists in the club even though he only played 23 out of 38 games in the league.

  • Roberto Carlos - recently announced he would be playing for Turkish side Fenerbahçe next season after being unable to agree terms with Real. A favourite with the fans, he leaves after 11 seasons and a large number of winners' medals and the label of one of the best-ever offensive left backs in the business (though perhaps not at his best on defensive duty)

  • Francisco Pavón - out of contract, destiny not yet known. Did not get any playing time this season, Pavón has been unfairly linked with the previous presidential regime and their policy of "Zidanes y Pavones" (i.e. buying the best and bringing the rest up from the youth squads). Never really shone.

  • Diego López - will join UEFA-cup bound Villareal next season. Totally sidelined by Casillas (who played in every league game this season) he only had a couple of appearances in the Copa del Rey

Probably leaving:
  • José Antonio Reyes - likely to 'return' to Arsenal from loan (although he's said publicly he doesn't want to go back to London, so he'll be loaned or sold). His two goals in the last game of the season are unlikely to win him a reprieve.

  • Antonio Cassano - after his spat with Capello last October has rarely featured, and has been all but invisible in the second half of the season (he was not at the celebrations last night). He's definitely for sale, if anyone is looking to buy someone with his obvious disregard for professionalism, that is.

  • Iván Helguera - was on the transfer list last season and stayed after the negotiations fell through. Out of favour with Capello initially, he fought his way back into the team only to pick up an injury and find himself sidelined once again in the final games of the season. Metzelder's arrival will probably mean the club will find him a way out in the summer.

May be leaving:

  • Fabio Capello - has publicly said he would like to see out his contract (but then, they all say that). Capello has made no secret of his unhapiness at the lack of support from the president (other than lip service in front of the press). Calderón has allegedly got a deal signed to bring in Schuster from Getafe, but the remarkable (and often fortunate) dénouement to the league championship puts this most populist of presidents in a quandary. Either way, his indecision will cost the club dear. It also puts the planning for next season in jeopardy, as it is still not clear who will be running things from a technical perspective. This, more than any other decision about players or staff, is crucial to Real's success next season, and for that reason, I would prefer Capello to stay, because continuity is easier than change and his style has been unjustly derided as lacking elegance. This is something not completely backed up by the team's performances in the second half of the season.

  • Alvaro Mejía - only featured when all other central defenders were injured. Unlikely to stay.

  • Michel Salgado - young Miguel Torres has taken his place in the starting line-up and is unlikely to relinquish it. Has two more years left on his contract, so the club may seek to offload him while they still can.

  • Emerson and Cannavaro - after a poor start, somewhat redeemed in the second half of the season, their futures are probably tied to Capello's, as they, more than most, fit the mold of the type of player he prefers.

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