Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fernando Gago to Real Madrid: why it's a bad idea

Both Tim at La Liga Loca (which by the way is the best blog covering La Liga right now) and Eurosport have reported on Spanish newspaper Marca's article insisting on Real Madrid's interest in Fernando Gago, who has said he would love to play for a big club like Real. I've written about this disapprovingly before from the point of view of an Argentina fan who wants Gago to develop well. My opinion hasn't changed.

However, the Eurosport article says that Real see Gago as a replacement for Julio Baptista, which is absurd to the extreme. Let me put it this way: it's similar to how Real bought Beckham thinking he was a central midfielder. Gago is a central/defensive midfielder. Baptista is an offensive midfielder. There is clearly a big difference. Real need to do their research before buying players for what will surely be a big sum of money. I imagine Boca won't want to let him leave for anything less than what Independiente got for Aguero's move to Atletico Madrid.

At 20 years old, Gago is a great defensive midfielder and an important member of a great Boca side. However, I'm not even sure he's the best in his position in the same age group for Argentina. Lucas Biglia - formerly of Independiente, now of Anderlecht - battled with him for the same position at the '05 World Youth Championships and was slightly more impressive. Apparently he's still doing well in Belgium, but since no one in Argentina watches that league he doesn't have the cloud of hype around him that Gago does.

Another problem with the potential move is that it could push back Gago's call-up to the full National Team. He's never been called up unlike fellow '05 WYC champions Messi, Zabaleta, Aguero and Ustari, although this is more due to the amount of competition for his position than any lack of credentials on his part. However, from what I've heard recently coach Basile wants to put together a squad consisting solely of players based in Argentina to train together frequently. This squad, plus a couple of vital overseas players (probably mostly defenders), will then go to the Copa America in 2007. If Gago stays put for a while longer he would be one of the mainstays of that side. Moving would probably kill that chance.

All this, and I haven't even mentioned the pressure he'd be under to adapt immediately and start performing for such a great club - the same problem that plagued Riquelme and Saviola when they first moved to Barca. So to sum up: I don't think this is a good idea. However, it is very possible if Real are willing to spend a lot, and Real are always willing to spend.

7 comments:

Yrsa Roca Fannberg said...

I heard of this guy, he should not go to RM but to a smaller club first, it is notorious that young players need to adapt. Everyone apart from Saviola has had to do it. I was joking that Saviola had a girlfriend in Barcelona and his refusal to move. But now they are talking of Sevilla or even a pre-contract with R M.
It will be great for Argentina if Messi and SAviola train and play together. I heard they are good friends as well.

yrsa said...

I heard of this guy, he should not go to RM but to a smaller club first, it is notorious that young players need to adapt. Everyone apart from Saviola has had to do it. I was joking that Saviola had a girlfriend in Barcelona and his refusal to move. But now they are talking of Sevilla or even a pre-contract with R M.
It will be great for Argentina if Messi and SAviola train and play together. I heard they are good friends as well.

khalidmarrakchi said...

Hi Linda;
Great Blog,And Great point of view,,,I hope this new realmadrid could change this bad habitude of searching less and acting so quick!
But now ,with Capello, i'm more calm, nd even more with Beckham in the bench...He's a winning coach,nd he will never accept a signing that will not give something new to the team!
for Gago,i think Capello was clair in his first interview!
Capello said:He's a foreigner and we can only have three, but that doesn't mean we're closing the door on anyone.
That doesn't mean he don't wanna Gago,it does mean that the place of a foreing player should be occupied by The Best Possible Player,and as u said,he have many players to choose from!
his first interview is here:www.realmadrid.com/articulo/rma32222.htm
I Loved your Blog, it already won a place in my Blog ,,and in my heart too:)
Greetings from Marrakesh,Morocco ;)

linda said...

I agree, Yrsa. A smaller club would probably be best for him to adjust to La Liga's style of play. Every Argentine player, no matter how good they are, have needed such a period, and I'm not even sure Gago is everything he has been talked up to be. Regarding Saviola, I really don't think he'll go to Real Madrid or Sevilla. Neither club need a striker all that much. I don't know if he's going to stay at Barca after this season, but who knows what could happen? It's nice having Messi and Saviola playing together which has got to be good for Argentina, since all the talk at the World Cup was how they couldn't play together because they're too similar.

Hi, Khalid! Welcome and thanks! Please stick around. I think one of the problems with Real in the past few years has been the fact that they've used some players in non-attacking positions who just should not be playing for a club like Real. Raul Bravo, for example. Nothing against the guy, but surely he's not good enough to play regularly for Real. They should probably be looking for guys who can come in, slot into Capello's system and start delivering the goods consistently right away - van Nistelrooy being a good example of that.

pablo_noel said...

As a Canadian with Argentinian roots and an academic background, I found this article especially interesting. When the hype is so unrealistic, it's difficult for a young player to live up to it. Even Ronaldinho played in France before joining Barca.
Since I share the same love for the albicelstes, I'd like to point out that Argentinian players are often unrealistically hyped. Riquelme was supposed to be Barca's "saviour." Aguero, Messi,Tevez, Saviola, were all set to be the next Diego.
Players need time to develop; especially those that are young, come from a different league, with a different style of play, and from a different country. Personally, I like what Pablo Zabaleta did. He went to a smaller team in a top league. You play more minutes, and have the time to develop your talent without the ridiculous hype. If Gago is as precocious as Messi is, then he will be able to blend in and develop within a team like Real Madrid.

To Linda, I like your post. Except that I like Mourinho. Cockiness and theatrics go very well together; especially when winning. Hopefully you'll come around and see the light.

Another thing:

A Kiwi who follows Argentinian soccer players on her spare time? Where do you come from??? And what are you studying that would compel you to turn to the majestic game?

Very curious

linda said...

Greetings Pablo! I agree with you about the hype problem. Riquelme is a great player, but not the one Barca needed at the time - which is another rant I'll save for later. This ridiculous tendency to call every great young player the new Diego needs to stop. Look at Aguero - wonderful talent, but he's only 18 and already people have talked him up as the new Romario. He isn't even the new Messi just yet. This hype stunts their ability to adjust.

Zabaleta is an admirably independent guy - he negotiated his own transfer to Espanyol, which looked like a great idea at the time since if memory serves Espanyol were doing well. At least he's still playing every game, but I do worry about how bad results are for them.

Gago should probably get another season in the Argentinean league first, I reckon. That would stand him in good stead to move abroad, although as I said in my posts Argentineans have recently not done that well when moving to the big two of Spain.

As for Mourinho...I find him very entertaining when he's not playing my team. Not my type of manager, but he's certainly done well.

I'm a Kiwi with Chinese roots, currently studying law and politics, funnily enough. So much in football is similar to what I like about politics, it's frightening.

Anonymous said...

hmm.. Gago is not really a defensive midfielder. The strong points of his game are his vision and passing range and that makes him more of a playmaker from central midfield. Moreover, Real did not buy Beckham thinking he was a central midfielder. I don't know where you got that from, although Beckham is well capable of playing in central midfield.