Reverse Moneyball

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Kylian Mbappe, a 18 years old football prodigy, has been dubbed as the next Thierry Henry after a successful performance in the 2016/2017 campaign. If you haven’t pay any attention to football transfer market in the last 2 years, you might be thinking that this kid might worth 30-50 million euros. But guess what, this kid has been marketed for 180 million euros. One hundred and eighty freaking million for a player that might have a chance to become a one season wonder. Guess who is currently in the front of the line to sign him. Yes, it is Real Madrid.

Florentino Perez is the “kryptonite” of the Billy Beane “Superman” to the moneyball approach. If Billy Beane compare price versus performance, then Florentino compare price versus how many income can he get from this player. This guy surely contribute to the inflated player price in the football industry. Four times he break the world transfer record for Figo, Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. The result on the field is not that bad, 5 UCL and 4 La Liga and many other trophies like the several Spanish Cup, Super Cups and Club World Cup. But it is worth the money spent? I don’t think so because that is what you expect after almost 1 billion euros spending. Is it a wrong policy then? I beg to differ because there is more of football than just the result on the field.

You see now, football is not just about the sport anymore. It is also an enormous business industry. Many football club giants has fallen in the last few years because they don’t know how to balance the sport side with the business side, and that is exactly what Florentino Perez good at. He transforms Real Madrid into one of the world largest sports culture by signing a player that not only talented, but also highly marketable. And this have become the reason why Real Madrid have won 3 of the last 4 UCL, big talent combined with very strong business foundation that Florentino Perez has created.

In contrast, Real Madrid started to invested heavily on the youngster in the last 3 years. Florentino cleverly adapted to the inflated market by creating his own “Galactico” by buying some biggest young talents while their price is relatively still cheaper. This is a good bet for Real Madrid as if something wrong happen with the player, than the loss is minimum while if the player turn out to be a superstar, then they just saved millions of euros in transfer. It looks like they have learned from past mistakes such as Owen and Kaka. Surprisingly, this tactics works like wonder as the youngsters able to compete with the senior players under Zidane’s rotation policy.

Now back to the topic of Mbappe, is it worth the bet? They basically have to pay the price of almost 2 Galacticos in exchange of a player that might become one. Surely most of you will think that it is not but Florentino and common sense rarely written on the same sentence. Whatever it might become, Real Madrid still have one of the greatest squad in the world. But this is Real Madrid, where History turned into Legacy, so there is nothing impossible for them.

La Duodecima!

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What a time to be alive as a Real Madrid fans. We just won a double of La Liga and our third UCL in the last 4 years. So what is the secret recipe? is it luck or maybe our full of talent squad? Maybe those things play their own part in this successful campaign. However, in my opinion there is 3 important keys of the recent Real Madrid domination.

First of all, the “Man-management over tactics” approach of Zidane. Don’t get me wrong, he is a brilliant tactician. So does Mourinho and Don Carlo, if not even better. But the real reason Zidane is better than those two on driving this club into success and handling the infamous Real Madrid full-of-ego dressing room, is how he manage to provide something for (almost) everyone. Everybody play their part. nobody is not important in this campaign as Zidane give his trust to each member of the squad to perform in the highest level. He even go the extra miles by persuading our key players to be rotated. as a result? we manage to have two different teams (A & B, even not entirely true) that almost as good as each other. If I told you at the beginning of the season that players like Asensio, Isco and Nacho will be the backbone of our team on some part of the season, you would not believe it aren’t you? But that is exactly what happening especially in those time when Sanitas screwed up our starting XI. Almost everybody happy as they feel that the Team needs him.

Secondly, probably this is our most stable squad in the 21st century. Remember those time when we have R9, Zidane, Figo, Beckham, and Raul upfront but the likes of declining Hierro, Helguera, Pavon (Seriously..) and Bravo while we sold Makelele who is our only world class defending minded player? Or those time when we bought a freaking Julien Faubert? Even worse, the recent one back in 2015 when our starting XI is godly but we are only 1 player injured away from disaster. Thankfully, we are learning from those mistakes and we build the probably all time greatest Real Madrid squad. Injured backline? no problem, Danilo and Nacho is ready. Modric or Kroos is missing? We still have Isco, Kovacic and James. Problem with the strikers? Morata and Vasquez come to the rescue. This team is so balanced that we don’t even bothered Gareth Bale is sidelined for half of the season.

Last but not least, the heroes. every team need a hero and luckily we have plenty. Sergio Ramos last minute goal still haunting their enemy until now. Ask Atletico and Barcelona fans how they feel when his header struck their heart. Marcelo dancing on the left side of the field is a must watch. Watch his assist against Bayern and his goal against Valencia and you will know what I’m talking about. His passion for the team maybe only matched by Ramos. Modric put every midfielder in europe five leagues looks like amateur. The UCL final is his latest masterpiece, especially the assist to the guy that need new paragraph to write about because it is not wise to put him in the same paragraph as mortals.

Critics said he is done, age has caught up with his feet, lost his dribbling skill. One thing that they forgot is that this is not a normal human that they are talking about. This is a man that just scored 5 goals past Bayern, 6 goals against Atletico and 2 goals in the Final against Juventus this season alone. First player to reach 100 UCL goal and first player to score in 3 different UCL Final. 16 goals in the last 2 months to secure the double. This is a man who delivered when needed most. Cristiano Ronaldo. This year we see a transformation of a winger into complete striker, a superstar into a legend, a struggle into a moment of his life. 42 goals this season although low compared to his standard, mainly caused by the rotation policy. However this give him a better condition in the last 2 months when he went rampage. he scored 10 goals in his last 5 UCL match. Those are not group stage, those are final stages. A superb season yet again from the superhuman. Simply the Greatest of All Time.

Lets hope that next season will be as fantastic as this one. Until then, Hala Madrid!