Discussing the current situation at Real Madrid yesterday, Santiago Segurola caused me to consider the parallels with the New England Patriots, who have become something akin to the Real Madrid of the NFL. The president of the Patriots is the septuagenarian Robert Kraft (he of the sauces, yes), who is a lifelong supporter of the team. The coach, Bill Belichik is held in huge regard by the fans, because of his achievements and his scientific methods. The quarterback, Tom Brady, is a superstar, a prodigious player, an idol of the game and, for good measure, married to supermodel Giselle Bündchen. Brady is 40 and recently declared he expects to carry on playing until he is 45.
Three great powers converging into one. As is the case at Real Madrid. One the one hand is Florentino Pérez, the president, whose omnipotence is unquestionable. He is the man in power, and he has even turned the VIP box into an into a type of obscene exhibition of it. He is not the owner of Real Madrid, but acts as though he is. Then there is Zinedine Zidane, who is shall we say the moral power, due to his incredible achievements as a player, which he has reinforced as a manager, and his for his bearing and manners. And then there is Cristiano Ronaldo, the sporting and marketing star, who has built his legend on the back of scoring records and Ballons d’Or. Now that he is not scoring as freely as he had in the past you notice how important he has been.
Pérez set the move for Athletic Bilbao Kepa Arrizabalaga in motion, Zidane said he does not need another goalkeeper and now the whole thing appears to have been shelved. Ronaldo is in a huff because he is watching the rampant rise in salaries of the world’s megastar players and fears he is missing the boat. Pérez put him to one side, spoke openly about Neymar and suggested that the departure of Ronaldo would be no catastrophe for the club. At the end of the day, the Portuguese is entering a dangerous age range, as occurred with Brady - mutatis mutandis. But then Zidane came out and said he cannot envisage Real Madrid without his star player. Three powers whistling the same tune, as is the case at the Patriots. I wonder how both cases will turn out in the end.