Despite winning the UEFA Champions League thanks to a dramatic goal and a dominant extra time period and besting their bitter rivals to claim the Copa Del Rey, Real Madrid has set their sights even higher for next season, and the world is taking notice.
A third place finish in La Liga behind their two biggest rivals can’t have sat well with Madridistas, and management has taken steps to rectify the situation. A pair of major transfers has Real eyeing up a run at the top of the domestic table as well as success in any and all competitions they enter.
First up was the addition of German midfielder Toni Kroos last week on a six-year deal. The transfer will put Kroos alongside fellow World Cup champion Sami Khedira in the Madrid midfield, giving the club side a major part of the engine that drove Die Mannschaft to the Cup title. Upon joining Real from Bayern Munich, Kroos also added some intrigue to any potential meetings between the last two Champions League winners by declaring his new club “The greatest club in the world,”, angering many in his home country.
A second World Cup hero officially joined the club this week with the signing of Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez. The Colombian striker inked a six-year deal of his own and will join the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and Karim Benzema to form an absolutely terrifying squad of goal scorers up front at the Bernabéu.
The additions have made Madrid an early favorite for every competition they are in for this upcoming season. Gambling.com has Real as co-favorites with Bayern Munich to win the Champions League at 4/1 odds, with both clubs well ahead of teams like Barcelona (9/2) and Chelsea (11/1) at the sportsbooks. A similar gap is apparent in La Liga odds, where Madrid sit as early 5/6 favorites, with Barcelona second at 11/10 and Last year’s champions from Atletico Madrid at 14/1 the only other league side with odds greater than lower than 125/1. Confidence in Real Madrid is through the roof amongst experts thanks to the high profile additions to a team that was already one of the best on the planet.
The Galácticos model has worked for Madrid in the past, and they hope pouncing on a pair of the World Cup’s top performers will work again for the 2014-2015 season. The side they roll out this year will be one of the most expensive in history (their trio of Ronaldo, Rodriguez, and Bale cost more in transfer fees than Dutch giant Ajax has spent in their entire 114-year history) and seeing whether that is money well spent or not will be one of the biggest stories in club football in the coming year.