The 'Real' blunders: Is Ozil the Bernebeu club's latest faux pas?
Spanish giants Real Madrid is guilty of prematurely selling its star acquisitions. Bikash Mohapatra points out that the same players have immediately gone on to make significant impressions elsewhere.
It is the world’s biggest club and it leaves no stone unturned to retain that tag. Regular big ticket signings are just one of its many strategies to stay in the news.
Rising debts -- over 500 million pounds at present – did not stop Real Madrid from shelling out 85 million pounds for Gareth Bale’s signature.
While the Welshman is the latest of the big signings for the Galacticos, as they are referred to by the Fourth Estate, the Madrid club is guilty of prematurely selling their star acquisitions. While the Real bosses were justified in selling the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Robinho, even Gonzalo Higuain, or Kaka for that matter, there are names that should otherwise have been retained.
Not surprisingly, these players, considered surplus to requirements at the Santiago Bernebeu, have proceeded to make a significant impact at their new clubs.
Mesut Ozil is the latest of the ‘Real’ blunders.
Image: Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil
Photographs: REUTERS/Javier Barbancho
Ozil is the Gunners' most expensive signing ever
Even though the deal – Ozil at 43 million pounds is the most expensive player ever sold by Real – made financial sense, it wasn’t quite a strategic move when it came to the quality of the player.
In his three seasons at the Bernebeu, the 24-year-old led the way in the number of assists, thereby reiterating his importance as a creative force in the midfield time and again.
Following his deadline day move to the Emirates, Ozil, the Gunners’ most expensive signing ever, has made an immediate impact.
Having set up the opening goal (for Olivier Giroud) against Sunderland on his debut, the German was involved in all the three goals in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Stoke City on Sunday. In fact, so impressed is manager Arsene Wenger with his sole significant signing of the summer that he’s hoping Ozil will help Arsenal launch a serious title challenge.
Here’s a look at the other key players sold by Madrid who proceeded to make a significant impression elsewhere.
Image: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil controls the ball during their English Premier League match against Sunderland at The Stadium of Light
Photographs: REUTERS/Nigel Roddis
Robben never wanted to leave the Bernebeu
His success at PSV Eindhoven and Chelsea meant Real Madrid had no hesitation in paying 24 million pounds for his signature in 2007.
Arjen Robben made an immediate impact, helping Real win the league title with a few games to spare. Despite being injury-prone the Dutchman impressed more often than not.
However, after two years at the Bernebeu, he was sold to Bayern Munich for 25 million euros. This, despite the player not wanting to leave.
In his four years at the Allianz Arena, Robben has won eight trophies, helping the Germans to a first ever treble last season, wherein he scored the winning goal in the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.
Image: Arjen Robben of Real Madrid reacts
Photographs: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Sneijder was also deemed surplus in 2009
Arjen Robben wasn’t the lone player to suffer.
Florentino Perez’s 250 million euros project for buying the likes Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, and Raul Albiol, meant Roben’s compatriot Wesley Sneijder also faced the axe in 2009.
Both the Dutchmen didn’t want to leave, with the then coach (Manuel Pellegrini) wanting them to stay, but were victims ofMadrid’s cruel transfer system.
Real bought Sneijder for 27 million euros from Ajax in 2007 and sold him to Internazionale for about half that amount.
Having helped Real win the La Liga and a Super Cup in his two years at the Bernebeu, Sneijder made an immediate impact at the San Siro, helping Jose Mourinho’s side to a first ever treble.
Image: Wesley Sneijder of Real Madrid in a match in 2008
Photographs: Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Samuel has won 13 trophies since leaving Real
The Argentine made his mark as one of the best centre backs at AS Roma.
His displays at Stadio Olimpico earned him the nickname Il Muro (The Wall) as well as a high profile 25 million move to Real Madrid in 2004.
Real albeit lost patience with him soon enough and he was sold to Internazionale for 16 million euros a year later.
Walter Samuel has since won 13 trophies with the Italian club, including a memorable treble in 2010.
Besides, he has bolstered his reputation as one of football’s toughest defenders.
Image: A portrait of Walter Samuel of Real Madrid on November 23, 2004 in Madrid
Photographs: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Cambiasso has since become the Argentine with most titles
Remember that famous 24-pass goal by Argentina (against Serbia) in the 2006 World Cup?
Well, Esteban Cambiasso is the guy who scored after all the passing was over.
His impressive display with River Plate made Real go back to him (he had been a junior at the club) in 2001.
In two seasons at the Bernebeu, Cambiasso won the league (2003), UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup (both 2002) and the Spanish Super Cup (2003).
However, despite his success, Real did not renew his contract. With Internazionale since 2004, Cambiasso has since win 15 trophies including the famous treble of 2010.
In the process, the 33-year-old has become the Argentine footballer with most titles (at 23).
Image: Esteban Cambiasso of Real Madrid runs with the ball during a match in February 2003
Photographs: Firo Foto/Getty Images
Eto'o started out at Bernebeu before leaving for good
Samuel Eto’o began his career with the Real Madrid youth academy.
Real transferred him to Mallorca in 2000, albeit retaining 50 per cent hold. The club though sold their rights in 2004, with president Florentino Perez arguing Madrid already had the best two strikers (Ronaldo and Raul).
However, Michael Owen arrived the same summer as the alternative signing, only to leave after one season.
Eto’o would go on to join rivals Barcelona and help the Nou Camp side win eight trophies in his five years, including two Champions League titles (2006 and 2009).
The Cameroon player achieved further success with Inter Milan and even at Russian club Anzhi.
Image: Samuel Eto''o of Real Madrid in action during the Champions League match against Molde
Photographs: Phil Cole /Allsport