Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Dudek's chance?

So far this season Jerzy Dudek has only featured in the 4 Copa del Rey games played by Real Madrid. For the remainder of the time he has warmed the bench and watched Casillas from the sidelines. This was to be expected when he signed for Real Madrid in the summer, although he was nevertheless surprised last week to learn that he had not been named in the provisional 31-man Polish squad for the 2008 European Championships. However, an article in Marca claims he may get a chance in some of the remaining league matches, and, who knows, may even force the Poland manager (Leo Beenhakker, former Real Madrid manager; it's a small world!) to reconsider.

It all hinges on the Zamora trophy, awarded (by Marca, no less) to the best goalkeeper in the league every year. No Real Madrid keeper has won this since Paco Buyo back in 1992, but, right now, Iker Casillas is leading the standings with 30 goals conceded in 33 games.

The rules state that the keeper with the lowest goals to games coefficient wins the trophy, as long as they have played 60 minutes or more in 28 matches throughout the season. The current table looks like:

CasillasReal Madrid30330.91

The argument is that Schuster may rest Casillas once the league title has been won (which could be as early as this coming weekend if Real wins and neither Villareal nor Barcelona get all three points in their respective away ties) to help him win this personal accolade and 'lock in' his low coefficient. Although Racing de Santander's Toño has a lower coefficient (he's one shy of the 28 games required, hence his position on the table) his team is in contention for a Champions League place so he's expected to play in every one of their remaining games (Mallorca, Murcia, Sevilla, Athletic and Osasuna).

Personally, I find this scenario rather unlikely. Casillas may very well want to win this trophy, but I think that keeping his match fitness in the run-up to Euro 2008 is far more important, so he may take the risk of conceding less goals than Toño and his other pursuers. Still, it would be nice to give the 'hero of Istanbul' a run-out once or twice before the season is out to reward his patience.


Anonymous said...

I really hope both can happen as in Casillas winning the Zamora Trophy and Dudek does get a few games before the end of the season.

But will he get a league winner's medal even if he does play a few games by the end of the season??

Gonzalo said...

I believe Dudek will get a winner's medal even if he doesn't play at all because he's registered with the LFP (Spanish League)

Anonymous said...

Awesome! After last night's performance no other keeper deserves the Zamora Trophy more than Iker.

Gonzalo said...

My view on the Zamora is that it's a 'nice to have' from a player's point of view, but that I think Casillas would rather ensure Real win the league and he stays in good form for the European Championships than concentrate on any personal accolades.

Also, there's little argument that Casillas is and has for some years been one of the world's top keepers and yet he's never won the Zamora. This is because a goalkeeper depends heavily on the solidity of his defence to keep clean sheets and this is not something Real has been particularly good at for some years (until this season, at least)

ronaldinho transfer said...

Considering how Dudek used to complain about his lack of playing time at Liverpool when Reina came to the fore, I'm surprised there hasn't been much unease from him regarding his chances to make the Polish team, since he doesn't look like he's playing any more regularly. Or has it been just a lack of reporting?

Gonzalo said...

I've not seen any recent interviews with Dudek other than a fairly lighthearted one at the Guardian, so I'm not sure whether he's resigned to his position or actively looking to move in the summer.