van_der_vaat

The summer activity came to an end on 1 September with some notable additions to the squad and probably even further emotional exits from the Bernabeu. While we covered the entrances into the squad in our season preview let’s go through them once again..

  • IN

Sergio Canales (Racing Santander – 5 million Euros) – Sergio Canales is one of the players who have been accustomed to the functioning of La Liga and knows how it works and can adapt himself to suit the team accordingly. His creative ability and vision to create chances for the attacking players would be beneficial for us.

Angel di Maria (Benfica – 25 million Euros) – Our most expensive signing this summer is the Argentine forward/winger who has impressed in the past on the international stage with Argentina’s U-20 squad and then with Benfica in Portugal. We have already seen how capable he is with the ball with his "magical" goal against Hercules in the pre-season friendly.

Pedro Leon (Getafe – 10 million Euros) – Pedro Leon is another addition in the winger category transferred from another Madrid based club – Getafe. His hard working attitude and capability to defend and back track would be pivotal for us.

Sami Khedira (Stuttgart – 12 million Euros) – Sami Khedira rose to stardom after his inclusion in Germany’s squad for 2010 World Cup and he performed his assigned duty of being a holding midfielder with pure class. He was instrumental in creating chances for the team and also filled in to the spot of Michael Ballack with ease.

Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea – 8 million Euros) – The Portuguese defender re-united with the Portuguese manager, Jose Mourinho, by signing from Chelsea. He has spent many impressive seasons in England but has off late not figured in the first team squad due to injuries and stronger competition from youngsters. I have my concerns over his age being his downfall but he can be crucial when needed.

Mesut Ozil (Werder Bremen – 15 million Euros) – Another star from the German World Cup squad is Mesut Ozil who is another hard working player with the skill to create chances for others and also for himself. Mourinho has also praised Ozil for what he can bring to the team.

  • OUT

Guti (Besiktas) – Former vice captain of the club and a legend for the club. He spent more than 20 years at the club including playing for the youth academy and the lower sides. He was a very important part of the club in helping us win various La Liga and European titles. Still can’t forget his cheeky backheel last season which allowed Benzema to score. (see video)

Raul (Schalke) – Former captain and another legend to depart. After initially starting off his youth on the other side of Madrid, he joined Real Madrid and stayed with us until 2010. His accolades of being our all time leading goal scorer, all time leading goal scorer in the Champions League and tied with David Villa for most goals scored for the national side. His trademark way of gesturing towards the back of his shirt after scoring would be cherished by all of us Madridistas.

Christoph Metzelder (Schalke) – Metzelder joined us in 2007 but in his three years at the club, his performances have been very low owing to his lengthy injury spells. He benefitted from Pepe’s ban in 2008-09 but failed to hold on to the golden opportunity for long.

Royston Drenthe (Hercules – on loan) – Drenthe has long been crticised for not doing his job well and being shoddy on many occasions. He’s been given the chance to prove himself on various instances but hasn’t taken the opportunity of it. He played in all games of the pre-season but yet again, he failed to impress the new manager. In my opinion, he shouldn’t have been here this long either.

Rafael Van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur) – Van der Vaart’s exit to Spurs can only be described in a mini TV series as it involved drama, suspense and accusations. After a lengthy transfer saga which lasted nearly 20 hours beyond the end of the UK transfer deadline, the Dutchman moved from the Whites to White side of London. The move angered the fans all over the world who didn’t want to see Van der Vaart leave as he has always been hard working and given his best for us whenever he’s played. This goes down as another midfield mistake (Sneijder and Robben in the past) for me.

Squad:

Goalkeeper – Casillas (captain), Dudek, Adan

Defenders – Pepe, Ramos, Albiol, Arbeloa, Carvalho, Marcelo, Garay.

Midfielders – M. Diarra, Gago, Lass, Alonso, Khedira, Kaka, Granero, Pedro Leon, Canales, Di Maria, Ozil

Strikers – Benzema, Ronaldo and Higuain

What do you think about summer activity? Where did we spend extra? Where should we have spent otherwise and where should we have not spent at all?

[Check how Castilla did during the summer over at Paseo de la Castellana]