Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo, FC Real Madrid, Soccer, Sports

Under Pressure To Perform And Succeed …………..


What can say you about a team that goes out and spends to its heart’s content ? It’d be remiss not to the think that Spanish soccer giant, Real Madrid CF is under pressure to succeed. They’ve spent in excess of $350 million to acquire a cabal of world class soccer stars. That being said , it’s by no means a guarantee of success in the often volatile world of domestic soccer. Much less, for the premiere club soccer tournament in the world – the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo  celebrats  his  first  goal in European  club  competition  for  Real  Madrid.  The  Portuguese  player  would add  a  second  goal  to  his  tally  in  his  side's  5-2  defeat  of   FC  Zurich  in the  Champions  League  competition.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  getty  images ....................
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his first goal in European club competition for Real Madrid. The Portuguese player would add a second goal to his tally in his side's 5-2 defeat of FC Zurich in the Champions League competition. picture appears courtesy of getty images ....................

Having had a thorough display in the European club competition in defeating FC Zurich 5-2 in somewhat of a competitive but lopsided match in part. The Swiss side were never really that bold on offense but they made use of the legitimate chances that came their way.

FC  Zurich's  Xavier  Margairaz   and  Real  Madrid's Raul  contest  a   loose  ball   during  the   Champions League  Group  C meeting.    Real  Madrid  would   go  on  to defeat  their   opponent   5-2 .    picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/keystone/ photo/  Steffen  Schmidt  ......................
FC Zurich's Xavier Margairaz and Real Madrid's Raul contest a loose ball during the Champions League Group C meeting. Real Madrid would go on to defeat their opponent 5-2 . picture appears courtesy of ap/keystone/ photo/ Steffen Schmidt ......................

And with the game now out of the way. They can now return to the rigors of the Spanish League domestic competition. There’s no doubt that this victory has given the team a definite boost of confidence. And now comes the sterner test for the team and that’s to maintain that consistency shown in their defeat of the Swiss side. There’s nothing more telling than when a team coming off a resounding win then falls back to earth with a lackluster display. With the team’s triumvirate of stars all having solid performances. It’s hoped that they’ll be able to replicate that form in their return to domestic competition in the league.

The two goal outburst by Cristiano Ronaldo to go with his allround display, was all that the Real Madrid fans could ask for. And it paid off in with the dividends of also seeing Kaka and Raul ably abetting the Portuguese , World Player of the Year, in Cristiano Ronaldo. The glaring talk when one deals the precocious talent of Ronaldo , has been that he’s never been able to produce on the grandest of stages. But if anything it has been the player’s complacency and the fact that he doesn’t always challenge himself to do better. We’re in awe with those moments dazzling brilliance. But then soon after we’re wanting to lambast the player for sometimes not trying harder. But were he on your team would you be willing to sell him in the expectation of getting something better ? There aren’t many players today with the talents of Ronaldo playing the game at his level of consistency. Isn’t any wonder that the Spanish giants were willing to pay Manchester United in excess of $140 million to avail themselves of his services ? His compensation package with Real Madrid makes him amongst the highest paid soccer players in the world. And the untold riches in terms of endorsements will almost certainly make him amongst the highest earning sport’s personalities on the planet.

Santiago Bernabeu  Stadium     home  to  Spanish  soccer   giant   Real  Madrid  of  the  Spanish  first  division.     picture  appears   courtesy  of  afp/  reuters  /   Jose  Etcheverria  .................
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium home to Spanish soccer giant Real Madrid of the Spanish first division. picture appears courtesy of afp/ reuters / Jose Etcheverria .................

La Liga (Spanish Primera) as the Spanish first division is often referred to , is one of the most competitive leagues in all of European soccer. It sits alongside that of the Barclays Premier League in England -being viewed as claiming that mantel. Though many believe it to be the Premiership that is far in a way the most competitive in terms of talent and the number of elite teams on display week in and week out..That case cannot made for La Liga.

Courtesy of AP Yahoo Sports :

Real Madrid , Man United win in Champions League

By Stuart Condie AP Sports Writer

Cristiano Ronaldo had a successful Champions League debut for Real Madrid, scoring twice Wednesday night in a 5-2 victory at Zurich.

“I never feel pressure,” Ronaldo said. “I just work to score goals. I scored two and I’m really pleased for that, but the important thing is to win games.”

Manchester United, his former team, won its opener 1-0 at Besiktas, and AC Milan gained a 2-1 victory in heavy rain at Olympique Marseille.

The reigning FIFA player of the year, Ronaldo scored on free kicks in the 27th and 89th minutes of the Group C match, with the second going in off goalkeeper Johnny Leoni, who tried to clear it with a punch. Real Madrid, a nine-time champion, also got goals from Raul Gonzalez in the 34th, Gonzalo Higuain in first-half injury time and Jose Maria “Guti” Gutierrez in second-half injury time.

“We must not lose concentration,” Real Madrid coach Manuel Pelligrini said. “There are always things to improve on but I’m happy we scored five goals.”

Xavier Margairaz converted a 64th-minute penalty kick for Zurich, which also got a goal on Silvan Aegerter’s header one minute later.

“Real was for sure a little bit in fear of us. At 3-2 anything is possible,” Leoni said. “If they want to win the Champions League they will have to play better.”

At a Group B match in Istanbul, Paul Scholes scored with 13 minutes remaining for Manchester United, the 2008 champion.

“It was difficult,” United captain Gary Neville said. “They create an atmosphere over here like no other country.”

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Official   presentation of  the  Brazilian international  player  Kaka  to  the  fan  at  the  Santiago Bernabau  Stadium  ,  Madrid  ,  Spain.   There  was  in  excess  of   50,000   fans  in the  stadium  to  greet  the  player  at the  official presentation.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  photo  agency  -photo  ..............................
Official presentation of the Brazilian international player Kaka to the fan at the Santiago Bernabau Stadium , Madrid , Spain. There was in excess of 50,000 fans in the stadium to greet the player at the official presentation. picture appears courtesy of photo agency -photo ..............................

And with the Spanish domestic league season just underway. It’ll be interesting to see how Real Madrid fares in domestic competition. As of late this team hasn’t won anything of merit on either level. With untold tens of millions of dollars at their disposal they’ve gone out of their way to try and buy themselves out of trouble. It has seemingly left the club in something of a financially precarious situation. Although club president Florentino Perez has tried to allay those fears by publicly addressing the issue. Stating that the club is financially sound and that they can meet all of their financial obligations.

Real  Madrid   Club   President Florentino  Perez stands at  the  dais  as he  makes the  formal  announcement   and  presentation  of  the  team's   newest   signees    Cristiano  Ronaldo  and  Kaka .  Seated is former  Real  Madrid   great-  Alfredo  Di  Stefano.  picture  appears  courtesy of  photo / photo  agency  ................
Real Madrid Club President Florentino Perez stands at the dais as he makes the formal announcement and presentation of the team's newest signees Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka. Seated is former Real Madrid great- Alfredo Di Stefano . picture appears courtesy of photo / photo agency ................

With the Bernabau Stadium , the team’s home venue seemingly filled to capacity for home games with their vociferous and impassioned fans. Now is the time for the Spanish giants to try and reclaim their mantel as the best team in Spain. An opinion that might not be shared by the likes of FC Barcelona or Atletico Madrid . Two other popular teams that have had success at the domestic and European club competition level. It has become a titular struggle however between the triumvirate as to who is in-fact the best team in the land. Though you could thrust at least three or four other amidst the argument and try and make a case for them also. But as of now the standings within La Liga places Barcelona , Real Madrid , Valencia and Athletic Bilbao atop of the division with six points apiece -two games played.

Chilean  native   ,  Manuel  Pellegrini    coach  of  Real  Madrid  .   Pellegrini  is  in  the  first   year  of   a  two   year  deal   signed  with   the  club.   picture  appears   courtesy  of   reuters/ afp /   ..........................
Chilean native , Manuel Pellegrini coach of Real Madrid . Pellegrini is in the first year of a two year deal signed with the club. picture appears courtesy of reuters/ afp / ..........................

Real Madrid’s roster is littered with star power and it would be considered a tremendous blow after the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and former Liverpool player, Xabi Alonso if this team were to fail under the auspices of their coach ,Manuel Pellegrini. Who is a proven commodity as a coach. But in the pressure cooker atmosphere of the Bernabeu and the vapid fans and the club’s seemingly unabated appetite for success. The Galacticos had better be at their very best this season on all fronts. If not, then the merry-go-round in the changing of management , executives in the boardroom and in the roster will once again be front and center in the Spanish press. As they’ll be calling for the heads as to whom they deem appropriate when failure once again surfaces for the team. Never-mind what the fans may well think.

It’s not only Cristiano Ronaldo who has got to prove something but the entire Real Madrid organization from top to bottom ! It is now a far cry from when this club reigned supreme on the domestic and European soccer stage. Baited breath now awaits as to the next chapter for this team.

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12 thoughts on “Under Pressure To Perform And Succeed …………..

  1. This is all fine and dandy but when it comes to nut cutting time Cristiano Ronaldo is gone. He is not a big time player. Regular season goals by the boat load. When it counts he is gone. Look at the last two CL finals. No goals no nothing nada. When The Fake Ronaldo plays at World Class level on the world stage then he will earn my respect and those in Brasil. Until then he is nothing but a good regular seaosn player.

  2. bobbygee

    That’ll always continue to be the knock on him . That’s why it’s imperative that he leads The Galaticos to some semblance of success in La Liga as well as on the Champions League front. As for his play at the international level. I’ve merely got this to say ‘…… one man doesn’t a team make !’ There he’s got to be surrounded with the prerequisite tools if Portugal are to fare well internationallly.

    The present FIFA rankings has l Portugal ranked 17th .

    FIFA rankings :

    1) Brazil
    2)Spain
    3)Netherlands
    4)Italy & Germany tied
    6)Russia
    7)England
    8)Argentina
    9)Croatia
    10)France
    11)USA
    12)Greece

    That’s a fairly solid showing by the US at present. And hopefully it’ll give them a boost of confidence – in terms of the upcoming World Cup.

    Alan Parkins

  3. I think Ronaldo is one of the best players in the game of football at the moment, there is no doubting that. He has perhaps not performed in some high profile games, but on the whole the majority of time he performs even under pressure. Players all have their good performances and bad performances but no doubting that that he is consistently good. He, however, will need the rest of the Real Madrid team to be the same… at the moment they have won a few games, not against top opponents though.

    Yet Real Madrid’s team still lack a sense of identity that I see Barcelona’s team possess. This cannot be bought – it needs to be created. But perhaps their new signings will be enough for them to win silverware this season. In terms of the Champions League they will have to beat some very good opposition to do that however and this will not be easy at all.

    Only time will tell!

    Vaishali http://www.vaishalibhardwaj.wordpress.com/

    1. Vaishali Bhardwaj

      Thank you for responding to this piece. With regard to The Galacticos and their aspirations. It has now become about all or nothing ! Why else would Florentino Perez risk all that money for so much talent ? He knows that the Real Madrid fans are very demanding . And success to them is essentially a way of life. A year without a major trophy for the team is essentially starvation that borders on being viewed as a drought.

      They’ve now taken to win at all cost mentality. And it’s now predicated upon the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo , Kaka , Xabi Alonso , Benzema and Raul playing true to form.
      Anything short of that and the present organization will be viewed as a failure.

      So it’ll mean winning not only La Liga but also a major assault has to be made at winning the Champions League trophy.

      Alan Parkins

    2. I have a different take on REAL Madrid,the opposition better be ready to play,because they will score a lot Real is going on the attack and play exciting futbal and thats what the fans want to see, its clear Real is going to have a great identity and ita attack,attack attack.

  4. raysagres

    First of all thanks for commenting on the piece ! Scoring a lot of goals is one thing . But at the end of the day it’s going to be about success and that’ll mean winning trophies. If they’re not winning trophies then it’ll make Florentino Perez’s position all the more tenuous. And that of the team also.

    The organization has spent in excess of $350 million to assemble this present squad. So don’t for one minute think that the fans , management and the executives of Real Madrid aren’t counting on the team being successful.
    If they fail to win a major trophy and I’m talking about primarily the Champions League. Then their season will be thought of as something of a failure.

    theoraclesays aka Alan Parkins

  5. Cristiano Ronaldo has confidently envisioned Real Madrid will win the Champs League and their domestic title following their lavish summer spending spree.At an international record £80m, previous Manchester United star Ronaldo heads a powerful collection of new ‘galacticos‘ to arrive at the Bernabeu before the new season.


    1. Prasad Chavan

      That’s all well and good. But Real is now also up to its neck in a great deal of debt. So winning now becomes a prerequsite. Failure to win and it once again involves a fire sale in terms of talent and also a radical change in the boardroom.

  6. Nice article. I’m not a big Cristiano Ronaldo fan, but I certainly cannot deny his skill. For me, he’s a little too flashy when the situation doesn’t warrant it.

    As far as the pressure at Madrid increasing because of the money they spent, what do you think of the money being spent in response to the pressure being placed on management? Madrid fans are used to having the best of the best and the players get little chance to prove their skill. You’re off to a bad start? They’ll bring in someone to replace you. Players know that going in. Even a player such as Arjen Robben who was fine for the Galaticos was sent packing in favor of Kaka and Ronaldo. It’s part of the culture there. I’m not sure it’s a recent development.

    1. classic 17

      You don’t have to be a Cristiano Ronaldo ‘fan’ to appreciate his skills or greatness . But it certainly does help if you are. That being said if the ‘Galaticos’ fail to win the Champions League , you can be sure that there’ll be even more bloodletting in and out of the boadroom there. It’s part of the culture as you so rightly put it but at the same time when there’s so much money financially involved with the team and its debt. And hence the reason why they chase the proverbial chalice of success. Without the financial windfall from it all they can’t maintain the lengths of their existence and that’s with the patronage of their commercial sponsors and the banks who continually loan Real Madrid money.

      The ‘big test’ for Ronaldo, apart from the Champions League , will be whether or not he can lead the Portuguese national side in the World Cup (2010), with authority. If he can then it adds to his legacy, if not then it tarnishes it somewhat. It was the same with Beckham and England with regard to their participation in the last World Cup in ’06.

      Now all of the ‘big money teams’ on the continent as well as in the UK will have to contend with UEFA’s new rules that come into being next season. If teams aren’t financially sound with regards to their ‘ balance sheet’ then they won’t be allowed to
      compete in the Champions League. To my mind that’s a good idea as far too many teams are on cusp of financial ruin either through mismanagement or merely because of the worldwide economic downturn. When that happen the fans tend to become more acutely aware of their discretionary spending. And the first thing that normally goes are things like attending a concert or a sporting event.

      Thanks for chiming in with a comment and hopefully you’ll return to peruse more the pieces that I complete ? And by all means also do leave a comment.

      Alan Parkins

      1. I think it’s a good idea as well. My favorite team is Leeds United and they’re a prime example of what can happen if a team is financially unstable. Portsmouth would be the current example, I suppose. I think I heard something this morning about them not being able to pay their players. They need a financial backer quickly if that’s the case.

  7. classic 17

    I know and I also believe that something like this has to happen , if teams are to exist and live within their means. Banks aren’t looking on favorably to sports franchises that are laden with a great deal of debt or structured in such a way that they were bought through an lbo (leveraged buyout). Teams such as Man U, Liverpool and Real Madrid are now trying to avert a financial crisis. Those three teams alone have in excess of $ 2.5 billion worth debt (approx Euros 1.75 billion).

    I feel that UEFA are fully justified with this mandate ,however , we know a number of clubs will be dead set against it but there’s now little that they can do about it all. When they had the chance to they should’ve been prudent in their financial dealings rather than being capricious.

    Alan Parkins 🙂

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