Benzema hit the winner at the weekend and again on Wednesday evening, allowing Los Blancos to both maintain their pace behind Barcelona and take a first leg aggregate lead in their semi-final cup tie, respectively. Yet the under fire France international will now find himself competing for a place after Los Blancos’ latest big name transfer. The Frenchman has struggled since his big money move from Lyon in the summer of 2009, and, with the recent injury to Gonzalo Higuain, speculation has run rampant at the Bernabeu as to whether or not Jose Mourinho would make a move in the January window to add some depth to his squad’s attacking prowess. First they weren’t, and then they were; Madrid’s official stance was about as bi-polar as Benzema’s form. Tevez, Lukaku, Drogba were just a few of the names thrown around by everyone from Marca to your local taxista. Finally, Emmanual Adebayor has become the newest star to don the famed white jersey. But is this really the answer?
Adebayor was not Los Blancos’ first option, that was made palpable by the number of moves and subsequent rejected bids in which Madrid were linked. Hamburg has allegedly soured their relationship with Netherlands international Ruud van Nistelrooy by not allowing the Dutch star a transfer back to the Bernabeu. Across town, Atletico de Madrid director and hype-man Gil Marín has been quoted as saying, “El Real Madrid nos ha ofrecido 45 millones por El Kun (Madrid have offered us 45 million euros for Sergio ‘el Kun Aguerro.’).” Chelsea did have a 52 million pound bid rejected for the Argentina striker and son-in-law of Diego Maradona; however, defender Diego Godin was also a part of that deal, forcing me to side with the Madrid management denying a bid was ever offered. Aguerro’s inconsistent form has lead to speculation of a drop in price, though it certainly doesn’t seem to be so (Madrid bid or not). Regardless of the validity of the Aguerro rumours, Marín has certainly highlighted Madrid’s desperation with his comments.
Expectations to win have never phased Jose Mourinho as a manager, in fact he embraces the challenge; however, the Madrid brass seem daily more and more anxious to return silverware to the Bernabeu this campaign. The Adebayor signing has epitomized that sentiment. As the news of the Adebayor move echoed through the streets of the Spanish capital, Madrid took a very positive step towards in accomplishing (at least part) of that goal by seeing off Sevilla 1-0 at the Sanchez Pizjuan Wednesday evening. Thanks, of course, to an early strike from the aforementioned Mr. Benzema. The capital side club will return to the Bernabeu for the second leg with an away goal as advantage (like the UEFA Champions League, the first tie breaker is away goals) in a week’s time. A Copa del Rey victory does not spell a successful season by any means, but continued results symbolizes the squad’s progress.
Adebayor was unable to secure regular time at City
Returning to the issue of the newest face at the Bernabeu, maybe the former Togo international (Adebayor retired after the tragic attack on his team’s bus en route to the African Cup of Nations last year) will return to the form that saw him shine at the Emirates. The form that convinced Mark Hughes, then Manchester City boss, to spend big money to bring him to Northern England. Adebayor has the potential to be world class, the footballing world knows that, but his work ethic was one of various reasons that Arsene Wenger allowed the striker’s North London departure. Will that questionable work ethic inhibit the Togolese striker the ability to see the pitch as has been his time spent at City? Perhaps the competition will spark both he and Benzema into the form that made them household names in the first place. At this point it is all speculation, a pundit or supporter can offer his ‘most educated opinion’ but we won’t know until the Togolese man has his shot. Time will tell but, for Madrid’s sake, the move better spark some attacking consistency.
Madrid have found their new “number 9” at the time as the man currently wearing the shirt is seemingly finding his form. Certainly, it should cause for some interesting matters and debates in the coming months. The Adebayor move will not define Madrid’s campaign but whether or not a “number 9” can be reliable.
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