Competition
  • Final ATP World Tour
Final ATP World Tour
COMPLETED
stefanos_tsitsipas Stefanos Tsitsipas Stefanos Tsitsipas
6 6
alexander_zverev Alexander Zverev Alexander Zverev
3 2

The rebuild begins ...with Kroos?!

Madrid loses against Betis and, in order to change the conversation, Florentino adds an extra year onto Kroos' contract, which will end when the player is 33, rather than 32 as stated in the previous agreement. 'Why the rush?' I ask myself. Kroos is now 29 and has just completed his weakest season since joining. He's not to blame, doing so would be unfair, as everything has gone down the drain since Florentino pulled the Cristiano-shaped plug out of the bath without anything being inserted in its place. There were efforts made, in vain, to stem the flow before it was too late, most notably by Benzema. But not Kroos. The German is representative of a squad that has long given up. He has gone through the motions, doing his job as if it were a routine exercise session. And now given approval.

Sleight of hand | Real Madrid's Toni Kroos.

Sleight of hand | Real Madrid's Toni Kroos.

Florentino's sleight of hand

Truthfully, I thought Madrid would turn him into a big paycheque, ahead of the acquisitions that have been announced. And it wouldn't be a bad time to get rid of him, after he himself explained, through his attitude, that the inner fire is dwindling. But something had to be done so that the misery of Sunday's defeat (and the backlash felt from inside the Bernabéu) could be replaced by the murmurs of a new conversation. As a sleight of hand is was good, and somewhat surprising. Nobody would have bet on the first presentation at the Bernabeu being Kroos, an event that is nothing really very new.

Remembered fondly | Real Madrid's Keylor Navas says farewell.

Remembered fondly | Real Madrid's Keylor Navas says farewell.

Keylor, great right up to his sacrifice

On the other hand, Keylor is going, if nobody resolves it before. Here is the perfect expression of Florentino's unjustness. He went for De Gea (a blessed fax from what we have since seen); he tried for Kepa, a big opportunity that Zidane prevented; and then, as soon as the manager left, he brought in Courtois, a good goalkeeper, but not one that has improved the team. Now he has found the void, one that Zidane wants his son to fill as back-up goalkeeper, allowing him to sacrifice Keylor. And Zidane provides him on a silver platter, a player who performed against Betis as he had done since he arrived: impressively. In summary, Keylor leaves while Kroos extends his contract. Any day now we'll wake up to the news that Bale has renewed...