“Those who fail to learn from their history are destined to repeat it”. These famous words from Winston Churchill seem to sum up Florentino Pérez’s second stint at the helm of Real Madrid.
Let’s take it back to his first term.
The beginning of the ‘Galactico’ era. It began with the signing of Luis Figo from rivals Barcelona, the following year they swooped in for Zinedine Zidane and every year, they would continue to lure superstar after superstar.
Yet, for all the big spending it only amounted to two La Liga titles, one Champions League and a club world cup over the course of six years; impressive? Yes, dominant? No.
His second term kicked off in 2009 and since then Madrid have spent over half a billion Euros building a side that they hoped would dominate world football again. The same process was put in place starting with the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, followed by Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez.
All superstars in their own respect.
Once again Madrid have been relatively successful, collecting one La Liga title, two Copa del Rey’s, one Champions League and a club world cup.
However, their rivals Barcelona trump them in every way, much like they did in the recent El Clasico. Since 2003, Barcelona have spent the same amount of money as Real Madrid have since 2009. This annihilates the idea that Pérez is the great businessman that everyone claims he is.
Most importantly Barcelona have won 15 trophies since 2009 in comparison with the aforementioned 5 for Madrid.
Madrid have also gone through 5 managers since Pérez took over again compared to Barcelona’s two (disregarding Tito Vilanova due to illness). So despite spending an unbelievable amount of money on players and sacking managers, Madrid have still failed to achieve the success of Barcelona in recent years.
Coincidence? I think not.
The reason, I believe, is down to the ideology throughout the club. Real Madrid have an owner who believes money can buy everything, they buy superstars despite compatibility with a managers philosophy and use the manager as a scapegoat when things go wrong.
Compare that with Barcelona. They employ managers who have a history at the club and who believe in the clubs philosophy. They buy players at a young enough age in order to develop them into a Barcelona player.
And, when they spend big, they do not buy a superstar for the sake of a superstar, they buy a player based on his ability and his ability to play the Barcelona way.
By Enda Coll