Higuain vs. Dybala and the failings of Madrid's 'sporting director'

Italian football. The Serie A spotlight is fixed on two names this week: Gonzalo Higuáin and Paulo Dybala, the Napoli and Juventus fan favourites who will come face-to-face this weekend for a mouth-watering top of the league clash. The form of these two in vogue strikers exposes just how poorly mismanaged the Real Madrid sporting department is, if indeed it even exists. El Pipita was sold for 40 million euros to free up Karim Benzema, the only player capable of getting Florentino Pérez out of his seat (during his time marshalling the front line with Lyon). The going rate for the Argentinean international has doubled since then.

Mascardi. The other man to watch this weekend is Dybala. The 22-year-old was offered to Madrid last summer by his agent, Gustavo Mascardi, for the same price he eventually went to Juventus for: 32 million euros which raised to 40 million after add-ons. Rafa Benítez requested that Los Blancos either buy the in-demand South American or Álvaro Morata but the sports director (Florentino) said “no”. Why bring someone in to raise Benzema’s game when you can sign Danilo for 31.5 million (38 including other fees, a figure that would have the hierarchy at the Bernabéu trembling should Football Leaks ever get their hands on the contract) or Kovacic for 30 million euros? Both the Brazilian and the Croatian cost the same as Dybala, whose current club wouldn’t part ways with him for less than 80 million euros.