So if you look at the top of this page you'll see a horribly outdated banner. It appears that both Kaka and Cristiano are headed to the Bernabeu to join, ahem, Iker Casillas, Gabriele Heinze, Sergio Ramos, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben. And I omitted about 6 or 7 names that would start on Arsenal.
So if you're counting at home that leaves Real with, drumroll please, the world's best goalkeeper, world quality fullbacks, two of the world's best midfielders/strikers to go along with 14 other national team starters. Yes, that's correct, fourteen players that start for their respective national teams.
"You can't just buy all-stars and expect success," they'll say. "They still might not win," or "they'll be good in three years," people will exclaim. They are all wrong. Real Madrid will win La Liga, the Champions League, and just for fun El Copa Del Rey and barring injury, they won't have broken a sweat. Even with injuries they're still 1 to 4 favorites.
Players of this magnitude have never joined forces like this and failed (and I can say that now that Barca won the treble). The 2002 Real Madrid squad that doubled up consisted of Roberto Carlos, Makelele, Zidane, Figo and Raul (all in their prime or at the least tailing off their primes). That core looks suspiciously similar to their current one.
But how in the world can Real afford all this? Has the whole country gone mad - Spain has 17% unemployment and they're staring at 60% debt with regards to their GDP?
The easy answer is I have no idea, and absolutely, the whole soccer world has gone mad. However, when you look at their books you can find some money to dent the 140 million pounds just spent on Kakoldo. I'm gonna stick with pounds here because its easier this way as everyone reports in pounds. Van Nistelrooy and Raul are retiring, if not this year then next year, both being paid around 20 million pounds each. Real can still sell Robben (another ~15-20mil), and not extend Saviola (also ~15-20 mil). That's around 80 mil coming off the books by 2010. Let's assume they sell 21-year-old Higuain, who yes, scored 1 goal less than Messi in La Liga last year, for another 15-20mil. That would mean Real spent 40-60mil for Cristiano and Kaka to replace Raul, Van Nistelrooy, Higuain, and Robben. With what they have left I would make that move.
And apparently they're also going to get Villa. This is just silly. I have no idea. Yes, the soccer world has gone mad.
Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.