Soccer / mariano
Not Mbappé nor Neymar... the big surprise was Mariano
In France they are still laughing at what Real Madrid have done. That is the problem when you blow up a balloon to the point you can no longer control it. In France they suffered at the thought Florentino Perez could steal away one of their star players. Neymar and Mbappe were constantly on the front pages of newspapers in both Spain and France but Madrid ended up signing Mariano Diaz, the ninth highest scorer in Ligue 1. Real Madrid's image is weakened after being unable to sign one of the league's true superstars. Barça knew first hand how difficult it is to negotiate with PSG. Knocking on their door will result in failure, but it appeared Madrid didn't realise this. They wanted to be special and PSG showed that nobody will laugh at their expense. Wanting to sign a world class replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid will have to make do with Bale and Benzema, two players who didn't even go to the World Cup. And now Mariano, a player who was never chosen by Lopetegui while he was Spain's coach and went to Lyon. Madrid have paid €30m for a player they sold last season for just €8m, a third of what they brought in for Cristiano. Poor business. Bale and Benzema are both great players and helped Cristiano, despite his ego issues, to score a regular flow of goals. Injuries have been Bale's downfall and a lack of goals for the French man. As such, neither Bale nor Benzema can be considered reliable. Nor do they have leadership or charisma. They're talented but are incapable of generating passion amongst supporters. They've lived in the shadow of Cristiano and now more is being asked of them. It won't be an easy task for Lopetegui because while he's a good coach, he isn't a magician. Madrid present a poor future after a bad summer dominated by their president who, with his work, has reduced the potential of a team which finished 17 points behind Barcelona.
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