The 2002/03 season saw Real Madrid win La Liga, the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. An incredible squad containing Brazilian World Cup winning phenomenon Ronaldo, footballing anomaly Zinedine Zidane and the elegant Luis Figo.
Claude Makélélé, Esteban Cambiasso and Flávio Conceição added much needed balance, defensive guile and structure to the attacking array. Their Champions League Quarter-Final first leg victory at the Bernabeu against Man United was spectacular. Incredible dominance in all areas. There was something special about that squad, it could have become one of the greatest in the club's history.
Instead they sacked Vicente del Bosque, sold Makélélé to Chelsea and bought Beckham over Ronaldinho because he was better looking. Then proceeded to finish 4th in the league conceding 27 more goals than the champions Valencia and didn't win anything for three years. Makélélé went on to become one of the most effective players in the Premier League, and the first player on Mourinho's team sheet. Ronaldinho became the best player in the world, his wizardry captivated the footballing planet and helped reawaken Barcelona from their slumber.
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End of the Galacticos
Thankfully for Los Blancos the Galacticos era is no more. The club now have more balance and tactical awareness. There is however the odd sign that they haven't learnt fully from their mistakes. Last season's La Decima winning side was dismantled with the ever underrated Xabi Alonso offloaded to Bayern Munich and Angel Di Maria sold to Man United. To be fair this time around they were replaced with equally talented and effective players but why break up a winning formula?
Possibly the greatest Galacticos of them all is Cristiano Ronaldo. He's on another planet, almost separated from his team. Illustrated clearly with his disappointment at team mates scoring instead of him, unable to submerge his selfish emotions.
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If Ronaldo thought less about his stats and didn't create pressure for those around him to give him the ball then maybe the team would become unified and more successful.
All of the above boils down to one commanding influence. Florentino Perez, Real Madrid president. The orchestrator of the Galacticos era, the man who deemed Ronaldinho too ugly, the man who regarded Claude Makélélé surplus to requirements.
A money maker yes, but a tactician with the patience to allow seeds to bear fruit? Definitely not. It's surprising how much success the club have managed with him there. One can only imagine what could have been if he wasn't.
Should Real Madrid have had more success? Let us know below!