Madrid woke up in shock this morning to the news that not just Sergio Ramos, but more importantly Cristiano Ronaldo, have both handed in transfer requests.
The two players probably most synonymous with Madrid both want out it seems and at 29 and 31 respectively, it seems like Real Madrid may be offloading the old guard.
Though it is the players who have requested to leave, it is no secret that Florentino Perez has been egging on both. Despite their status as Real Madrid legends, Perez has his own motives to get rid of both. He is naturally not open about this due to their positions in the dressing room, but there have been rumours in Spain for years.
With Ramos, Florentino Perez has found a thorn in his side. The defender frequently challenges his decisions publicly and undermines the president, which harms his election ambitions. Ramos was particularly critical concerning the sale of one Mesut Ozil.
With Ronaldo however it is a different story. Perez sees the team’s best player, but one on the wane who is slowing the progress of his own man, Gareth Bale. Lets not forget that Bale cost a World record fee, and one which Perez sanctioned. For Perez to seem like an astute president his deals must seem inspired, which Bale so far has not been. With Ronaldo out of the way Perez can finally insist on Bale being the focal point of Los Blancos attack.
As such, these transfer requests are a dream for Perez.
But what about for Madrid as a team.
The truth is it could be a great move for all involved. Los Blancos sit 3rd in La Liga 9 points off the top and many fans see the team as on it’s last legs. One has to bear in mind that this side has been together for a long time. The likes of Arbeloa, Benzema, Pepe, Ramos, Ronaldo have been the spine for almost a decade. These players are on some serious pay packets, so the time may have come for a fabled changing of the guard.
Young talented players like Isco, Rodriguez, and most notably Bale now have their time to step up, and the first step is moving on yesterdays men.
Ronaldo is the best player in the world some may argue, but they haven’t seen the stats.
Granted he is still a goal machine, but thats because he is changing. At 31 Ronaldo’s dribbling is practically non existent, averaging just 1.33 successful dribbles per game this season. That is not special for a winger. But that’s because he is no longer a winger. He is a complete striker, more likely to score a header than by a mazy run these days.
But this doesn’t fit any more. Real madrid have relied on Benzema on recent years to be selfless and offer himself as an outlet for Real Madrid’s other talents. Ronaldo would not do this, so obsessed with figures and personal achievements Ronaldo has become his own worst enemy.
Ramos is also not the player he once was, and with Raphael Varane being 7 years his younger, it is time they both moved on.
Ramos is reportedly a target for United. Ronaldo is a target for PSG or perhaps even a return to Old Trafford, though this is probably not a great idea. PSG could certainly afford him and Ronaldo has hinted at the MLS as another possible venture.
Whatever happens it’s the end of an era at Madrid.
Mostly orchestrated by the very man that created it, Florentino Perez.