Can Real Madrid reign in Spain?
Will Cristiano Ronaldo enjoy success with Real Madrid next season? (Getty Images).
July 12th, 2013
11:22 AM ET

Can Real Madrid reign in Spain?

The dust may still be settling at the Santiago Bernabeu following Jose Mourinho’s turbulent reign at Real Madrid, but a new era is already dawning at the most successful club in European football.

Real officially kick off the new season on Monday with Carlo Ancelotti taking the reins and we can be sure about one thing: there will be less acrimony with the experienced Italian manager in the dugout.

That is one of the few certainties surrounding Real right now because there are many questions which hang over the squad as the players get back to work.

Will Cristiano Ronaldo sign a new contract? Is Kaka staying? What can this side actually win this season?

Let’s begin with Ronaldo’s future. In my view it would be a terrible mistake for him to leave Madrid anytime soon.

He is the heart and soul of Real and has an opportunity to become part of the club’s history.

The Portuguese star is already in sixth place on the list of Real’s all-time top scorers having hit the back of the net 201 times in 199 games.

If he continues to score goals at this rate, he could challenge Raul’s record of 323 goals for the club in a few years.

Another reason for Ronaldo to stay is that since Mourinho has gone, a lot of negative energy will have disappeared from the Bernabeu.

I believe this new era could be a positive one for CR7 as he will not pay for having the same nationality as his controversial manager. He will be able to shine without getting involved in the crossfire between the media and Mourinho.

As far as Kaka is concerned, it’s time for him to go. Hampered by injuries and inconsistent form, he has never been able to settle in Madrid since making a $91 million move from AC Milan four years ago.

Even though he has a great relationship with Ancelotti from the time they spent together in Italy, I don’t know how he is going to get any playing time since he will be competing for a place with Mesut Ozil, Luka Modric and new signing Isco.

I really don’t see the point of hanging around. If I were Kaka, I would want to play. He should take a pay cut and guarantee some minutes somewhere else, giving himself a chance of fighting his way back into the Brazilian squad with the World Cup on home soil next year.

So what expectations should we have for Real next season? Ancelotti is a winner and will surely make sure the team challenges for titles, but I honestly don’t see Los Merengues winning anything next year.

Domestically, Barcelona are still too good, especially with the addition of Neymar and there is no way Real will find a new identity in a few months and be able to compete with their Catalan rivals.

In Europe I don’t see them having much success either. There are too many good teams out there right now and Real still don’t have a superstar striker they can count on to score big goals in big games.

Ronaldo cannot continue to carry this team on his shoulders at home and abroad without help from another consistent scorer.

Under Mourinho, they made the semi-finals of the Champions League three years in a row. Honestly, I can’t see them doing any better in the upcoming campaign.

So, there is no doubt we can expect a more harmonious year at the Bernabeu without tension around Iker Casillas or any other major star, but don’t expect any silverware. Ancelotti will need time to create a winning team in Madrid.

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Filed under:  Football
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Alexander

    I generally agree with your observations; but there are too many variables yet in order to determine how this team may react this season. It seems by the recent siging of Isco and Illarrmendi that the team is changing its profile from high priced international superstars to a more domestic squad. One thing for sure, we Madrileños are going to continue to enjoy our team. Hala Madrid.

    July 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  2. Jchau

    Only if he stays mainly in the plain.

    July 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  3. Kabeer

    A good editorial by Pedro Pinto

    July 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  4. medingo

    Kaka was the biggest waste of $90B in recent soccer history...

    July 12, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  5. Kay Hummer

    Poorly written article.Real MADRID will even become stronger this coming seson with the new signings.Barcelona are on the decline!

    July 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  6. Akinwunmi Ola

    I think this is a well written article, but would like to express my own counter-view. You admitted that Carlo Ancelloti is a winner but I think you got it wrong by concluding that Real wouldn't win any silverware next season. You failed to take into consideration that the majority of the players that won the copa and liga three and two years ago are still the core of the Real Madrid team and now strenghtened by young, talented and valuable signings. Also, in my own opinion and not just as as a strong follower cum supporter of Real Madrid believe that Barcelona's strenght both at home and in Europe is not as strong as it used to, as they are no more an 'invicible' team they claimed to be. I conclude therefore by saying that I believe and see Carlo's Real Madrid winning at least a trophy at the end of the upcoming campaign. Thank you.

    July 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  7. Ekyi

    Mou was not controversial as you made it seem. He is a winner. He cannot stand cheating his team. Not everyone can stand open cheating. Possibly, you may not be able to withstand open cheating. Ika spoke sarcastically and he was not hang. Mou replies him, and he is controversial. What kind of world are we leaving in? It is like a student disrespecting his teacher. A player who divulges club secrets to a girl friend is not worth to be a club's leader. But this is real Mardrid, players are more important than coaches? Ronaldo's argument with Mou over tactics tells you he is not a discipline player I thought he was. Modern football thrives on tactics. One must be hooked to it 101% to succeed. Ronaldo cannot score many goals the way he score under Mou. Reason? He thrived under Mou's system. In fact, Mou did extremely well to lift Real Madrid from the doldrum. Mou resurrected Real Madrid. Perez confirmed this himself. Ask Arbelao who was not afraid to say the truth. You, Pedro Pinto an outsider giving your opinion, made your opinion looked like a fact. It is you opnion about him. Others don't see it like that. You seem to be Mou hater or you are using his name to be more popular or sell your paper. Look at Marca.com, Mou is not talking, yet every day they talk about him to sell their paper. Who is troublesome and turbulent Mou or them? As you rightly said Mr. Nice man Ancelotti cannot reach the Champion League semi-final two times on a trot, let alone three times. The result would be that he would be kicked out as he was kicked out at Chelsea. Real Madrid would not have patience for him. He has been told to win the Champion's league in day one. That alone is recipe for disaster. You could have written your piece without calling Mou names. You goofed, Pedro, I respect you but you goofed big time!!!!

    July 13, 2013 at 12:25 am | Reply
  8. Aaron Abraham

    "there is no way Real will find a new identity in a few months and be able to compete with their Catalan rivals"
    Why does Real Madrid need to find a new idendity to defeat barca when they are allready defeating Barca so well.See last season's elclassico and you will find Madrid way more superior to barca and creating real chances while barca keeps on passing in the mid field not able to find a break in Real's defense.Barca won because of the inconsistencies by Real due to injuries and player tussle mostly created by mourinho.
    Oh you are saying Real's strikers are not good enough well for me Benzema with help from Oezil and rONALDO MORE THAN CAPABLE ENOUGH.Real lost 4-3 last year and on penalty shootout the year before so you can say they narrowly missed the finals.
    What a lame article surprised its allowed to be published here.

    July 13, 2013 at 5:46 am | Reply
  9. Glauco Ortolano

    Hey Pedro! It looks like your articles promoting Spanish clubs are not drawing too many comments lately. Is this due perhaps to people just getting tired of them? As I look at the CNN "International" page I see you got frozen in time. The last results I see published there are from April and May at the end of the European season. But you know, there is a lot more football around the world beyond Europe. Actually, the best football is still played in South America, in my opinion. However, CNN "International" has not covered the Libertadores Cup at all and they have already defined the championship game for this year. Libertadores is the tournament in which the present FIFA Club World Cup title defender has played so you can't discard it as being less important than the European counterpart tournament. If you and your colleagues at CNN "International" really want to carry the denomination of "International" then you have to be more impartial and devote equal space to the South American clubs, which are the salt of the earth when it comes to producing the most spectacular players the world has ever seen such as Pelé, Ronaldo, Maradona Messi, Neymar just to name a few. It's time CNN "International" starts practicing fair journalism and stop acting as publicists of European clubs and players. People can see through that and are really getting tired of it.

    July 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  10. Jonny

    Not as the team is now. Ronaldo is a flashy player but he doesn't have the killer instinct to lead a team and take over in big games. The only chance Real has – load up defensively, replace Xabi Alonso and sign Garreth Bale. Until then, they'll have the same result or weaker this upcoming season. I always compare Ronaldo to the Knick'a Carmelo Anthony – great numbers, no trophies to show for.

    July 15, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  11. Jonny

    But it can be done – Barca has an elite offense, but their defense is the worst in years. They are very vulnerable to the counter attack. That's why the speedy RObben and Ribery had a field day in the CL semis. Real does have a good D. And guys like Essein, coming off the bench, add a lot of defensive dept come the middle of the long season. Also, Real needs to start Marcelo. It would be foolish to have him split time.

    July 15, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  12. gcassidy2012

    Can't see it, don't get me wrong, I love watchin the amazing counter attacking of Real Madrid, however, given the fact that the "special one" who has previous history of creating a speacial bond with most of his players, someone who pubically shows emotions by hugging and crying with his warriors in all the previous teams, couldn't control that dressing room, how many ego's must there have been in there for him to have to leave, I don't believe that he would have expected it to be as bad as it was, he tried to create a team, however ego's stopped him, he just wanted to make Madrid great again, but diva's stick together, any other team would welcome him with open arms

    July 15, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  13. Hudson

    Mourinhos worth will be realized dring his absence when real madrld starts churning out mediocre results in la liga 2014. Ancelotti is the biggest joke happening in Spanish football and I bet he is not finishing 1 season if results for the copa del Rey, the derbies with the Catalans and a position 1 on the league is not realized within 4 months of the season. The teams to watch next year will still be barren and Barcelona in the champions league.

    July 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  14. prakash moktan

    For the last 3 seasons, Barcelona has over shadowed Real on every department. Now that German football has taken centre stage and and have shown Barca can be beaten with lot of over aged stars..... Real could be on the rise in Europe
    which will take another couple of seasons before they establish their presence once again as in the past........

    July 23, 2013 at 1:35 am | Reply
  15. emem silas

    i am so disappointed by pedro pinto's comment how can you say that real madrid cannot win anything , i am shocked that you think that barcelona are strong just because they signed neymar ..afterall we can see results of their marquee signings since etoó left,:ibrahimovich,and david villa same will happen to neymar although i don't wish so...barcelona don't still have a good centreback and you compare them to a real madrid who have fortified....and defeated them 3 times last season... come on pinto,i hear you say that madrd can't depend on cr7 ,what is barcelona doing when for the past 4 last seasons messi has been their saviour,anyways pedro i seriously will hold you on your word,well done though and nice work.

    July 31, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  16. Grant

    Pedro pinto is 100% correct. Real can not win any siverwares this season. Ancelloti will need more than a season at real to create any meaningful impact. ehmm mayb copa del rey but nofn else

    August 1, 2013 at 11:53 am | Reply
  17. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Carlo will do wonders with the men at his disposal. Good luck to Madrid footballers and fans.

    August 25, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  18. Anabelle

    "So, there is no doubt we can expect a more harmonious year at the Bernabeu without tension around Iker Casillas or any other major star."

    LOL. Oh Dear, how wrong is that??

    October 15, 2013 at 12:30 am | Reply

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