Sunday, January 7, 2007

Real Ugly

I hope everyone enjoys the pun. If things continue as they are, it’s not the last time I will use it this season.

Today Real Madrid was absolutely spanked on the road by a feisty Deportivo team. In all of my time watching football I’ve never seen such a one-sided match. Deportivo won 2-0, but if there was any justice the final scoreline would have seen five or six scored by the home team. At times it seemed as if Real Madrid could not meet the challenge of bringing the ball across the halfway line; within ten minutes it was obvious that the very idea of Real winning the game was laughable. The first half in particular was the single worst display of team football I have ever seen from paid professionals.

This is all the more disheartening for Real fans because La Liga is so wide open right now. Barcelona drew today and Sevilla lost last night. Real could be sitting pretty in a tie for second right now but instead remains a distant third. Based on today’s performance it is legitimate to wonder if even a European spot for next season is falling out of reach.

So what’s the solution? I wish I knew, although I feel strongly that Robinho has something to do with it. I do still support Capello, as anyone should based on his track record, but I do wish he could get his squad to gel soon, as there are prizes here for the taking if only the team could get it together.

Anyway, since I am a bit obsessive in watching every televised Real game, I thought I would hand out grades for each player, although the report card won’t be pretty this time around…

Was essentially hung out to dry by his defense. Can’t grade a GK after a game like this, so he gets an Incomplete

Has there ever, in the history of the game, been a worse reigning holder of the Player of the Year award? I’m not talking about the debate about his play last year; I was fine with him winning the award. I mean right now. He is awful; everyone is getting by him. Arizmendi looked great today, but he still made Cannavaro look terrible. Did he go to Madrid to retire? Let’s hope not; the club needs him. F

Did he even play today? D-

Hustled all day but Deportivo was openly picking on him the entire game; playing out of position or not, the team needs better than this. F

Sergio Ramos
I think he went to a Tappas bar halfway through the first half and Capello never replaced him. Still probably the best of a very ugly lot in the defense today. D

Yes, he was terrible today. He’s twenty and it’s his first game in Spain. I’m willing to give this a little time. Incomplete

Emerson was the most exciting and creative player on the pitch for Real Madrid. And when that happens, you know you’re in a shitload of trouble. C

Beckham for Guti (injury)
Look, I like Beckham, but there’s no way to disguise the fact that he looked awful today. In his defense he sometimes looks like the only Real player who cares about the score or feels embarrassed when they’re getting beat. D+

I’m not seeing it. Fine, once in a while he does a pretty stepover and looks good in the white shirt. Does that mean he’s allowed to disappear for 30 minutes at a clip? D

Absolutely invisible. Please page Robinho for me. And I mean the good, exciting Robinho; not the one who flops three times a game. F

van Nistelrooy
I need to be convinced this guy has not become little more than a very expensive poacher. In his defense, he was left alone in front for the first half; still had no discernable affect on the game. The money Madrid spent should get them more than this. D

The big fella didn’t do much out there today himself, but at least he attacked. I would start him ahead of van Nistelrooy, but what do I know? C-

Wow, I didn’t think I would be THAT harsh. Keep in mind how terrible this game was; watch it on replay if you didn’t see it live and let me know if I am crazy. Trust me, though; I would love to give some nice, fat “A”s to the boys from Madrid. They just need to show me something.

One more quick thing: If you get a chance to see a replay of the Sevilla game this week, watch it. It’s a great game regardless, but hang in there; there is a special treat in the 94th minute. I won’t spoil it for you; but let’s just say it reminded me of two girls arguing over who gets to bring the school quarterback to the prom. It’s high comedy you have to see to believe.

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