August 2nd, 2010
12:53 PM ET

What can we expect from Real Madrid?

Jose Mourinho is unlikely to tolerate a repeat of Real Madrid's recent failures in the Champions League. (AFP/Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho is unlikely to tolerate a repeat of Real Madrid's recent failures in the Champions League. (AFP/Getty Images)

London, England (CNN) - Real Madrid last won a knockout tie in the Champions League in 2004. True story. The most successful club in the history of the European Cup, lifting the trophy nine times, has not even come close to winning the competition in the last six years. This despite the fact Los Blancos have spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying some of the best players on the planet under presidents Florentino Perez and Ramon Calderon.

That’s why Jose Mourinho has been hired. After season after season of galactico-caliber signings, Real realized that what they needed was a manager with a profile and an ego as large as the brightest stars shining at the Santiago Bernabeu.

As Real start their pre-season in the United States, I thought it was a good time to look at what we can expect from them this season.

I have to be honest with you. I am really looking forward to the new instalment of La Liga, with the Real vs Barcelona duel front and center. Last season, these teams were both fantastic. Even though Manuel Pellegrini was sacked in June, he still presided over a record-breaking season at the Bernabeu. They may have finished behind Barcelona in the final league table, but they would have been worthy champions if they had managed to pip the Catalans down the stretch.

If they had won the title, maybe the Chilean manager would have stayed, but since they didn’t, Mourinho’s dynasty kicks off this summer with the world watching and wondering how Real will do.

So what will change this season? For a start, expect Mourinho to improve the team’s defensive organization. It was one of the trademarks of his Inter Milan team that won the treble last season, and the Portuguese manager will make sure Real don’t concede as many goals as last season, especially at home. Los Merengues won 17 of 18 league games in Madrid, but they conceded more than one goal in seven of those contests.

What can we expect from Cristiano Ronaldo? His first season at Real was phenomenal as he finished with 33 goals in 35 games. I predict his sophomore year will offer many more highlights, but I actually think Ronaldo, who will be wearing his favourite number 7, won’t score as many goals. He won’t need to. Many times last season he had to do things on his own because the team depended on it. With Mourinho, the team will be more organized and he won’t need to be the superman he was at times last year.

One variable, which will definitely affect Ronaldo’s role with Real, is Kaka’s future. Rumours have been intensifying regarding a possible transfer to Chelsea, and if it happens, it would see Ashley Cole moving the other way. At the moment there is no proof that this will happen, but if it does it will definitely influence the way the team plays.

I believe it would be a mistake to let Kaka go. He had, by his own admission, a disappointing first season in Madrid, but he struggled to stay fit and also played out of position at times. A fully fit and integrated Kaka would give Real a different dimension going forward and I hope he stays in Spain.

Whether the Brazilian stays or goes, Real will compete on all fronts. How many trophies will they win? It’s a little too early to call. However, one thing is for sure. There is no way Real’s losing streak in the knockout stages of the Champions League will last another year. The Portuguese manager won’t allow it. They don’t call him the Special One for nothing.

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soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. alehandro

    What a surprise! Pedro Pinto, a Portugese reporter, sings the praises of a Portugese coach, a Portugese forward, and a Brazilian, who are kissing cousins with the Portugese. He does it every time. If it's Portugese it must be good, is that his sporting philosophy? Look, Mourinho's a great manager, but too dour and pragmatic for a club like Real Madrid whose fans want flair to go with results. His reign will be short, possibly productive, but unsatisfying. Ronaldo can't do it all alone all season, and I don't expect him to shine nearly as brightly as he did last year because Mourinho demands a greater work rate of his players, which will reduce Ronnie's licence to roam. Kaka is shot, sell him while you can. As for looking forward to the La Liga season – why? Barca v Real is the only show in town, and even that gets boring year after year. Take off your Portugese blinkers man.

    August 4, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  2. Alen

    Yes..we will see ,.,,ha;lllla madrid

    August 4, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  3. Precious agbowo:from NIGERIA

    I personally think Jose Mourinho is the coach,Real Madrid had made to lift them from their trophyless campaign last season!he is tactically good,disciplined and hardworking! For me Real Madrid had made the right choice cos Mourinho is truely the special one?thank you

    August 5, 2010 at 4:43 am | Reply
  4. zizou

    Kaka will be amazing if they allow him to play in the middle. That was the mistake they made last year I hope Mourinho wont do the same mistake this year. In my personal view Real Madrid have always missed a very good Left Back after Roberto Carlos left the club and that's the place they need to fill. But still giving away Kaka for that matter could cause another problem since they do not have Guti any more as well.

    August 6, 2010 at 4:16 am | Reply
  5. Jason

    With Mourinho, you expect trophies. It's that simple. He's won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan and Real Madrid's major focus this year will have to be the Champions League. Being knocked-out in the round of 16 for so many times is just not good enough for a club of this calibre.

    Real still need to recruit a few more players, and especially with Kaka out for 4 months, they will some more recruits to fill-in the task.

    In saying that, if there was one coach to pick from, with a strong winning attitude, you can't go past Jose Mourinho. Great article Pedro.

    August 6, 2010 at 7:51 am | Reply
  6. alex kwasi



    August 6, 2010 at 8:58 am | Reply
  7. Kevin Grech

    Mourinho will not survive with Real Madrid. He was lucky to have a President at Inter who supported him in good or bad.
    The Real Madrid management will not tolerate anything from Mourinho. He will go to Manchester United next Season!!

    August 6, 2010 at 11:37 am | Reply
  8. Aminu Mohammed Auwal

    I believe Mourinho will do his best to get Real back to it's trophy times, especially with a great players in hand.

    August 7, 2010 at 12:10 am | Reply
  9. tony wille

    I was a real madrid fan since i was standard one till now iam in University second year medical student. I love to see Real in the good form like in the days with Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo de lima and others.
    Iam tired of seen Real losing to bacelona we want trophs and beautifully games.
    I wish Real all the best in the coming season.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:18 am | Reply
  10. emeka onyeka

    well i love the man very me he is the most succeful coach i have seen on this planet.started from a humble to attain the zenith.all i can say is that real made a good chioce and wil advice them not to dictate to him.the specila one thats what he is you mourinho.

    August 7, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  11. Edward

    Not sure who said it, but Real is like a rock band that only has lead guitarists. Now it's up to Mourinho to persuade some of them to play drums and keyboard. I'm not optimistic.

    August 7, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  12. azam

    we can expect from real that tehy will always buying expensive players and loosing with them all the time ,just loosing,loosing,loosing;hu the poor team

    August 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  13. dunn

    i love this article......u make me laugh

    August 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  14. Agho maxwell

    nice analysis pedro, it is obvious madrid is poised for glory this season. i think what was missing last season was technical depth and organization of the team, especially at the back. and i know not think we have the right man to solve all these challenges. MADRID for life.

    August 9, 2010 at 8:11 am | Reply
  15. kasonde

    i think will win la liga orcope del rey. i think they may reach the champions league semi finals of they dont meet any german, italian or engalish clubs.

    also real madrid need 2 buy 2 great defenders, pepe is injury prone and aprt form ramos they rest r hopeless esp drenthe who needs to sold considering a 3rd divison team like alcorn exposed him last year and la galaxy were running circles around him. if they dont bring in 2 great defnders they will be toast.

    i hope next season they bring in castila players like alipio and sarabia a nd buy back rodfigo than buyin forieng players

    August 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  16. rhodes

    Actually he called himself Special One once, the media just went along with it.

    August 9, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  17. Hollywood

    Madrid will not win anything.... Mourinho's Ego will destroy the team.... Luck runs out eventually....

    August 9, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  18. kingsley

    Mourinho will deliver at real, to what extent is what I can't tell

    August 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  19. Shen7

    Real will do sumthing gud dis year!!with talented young players like Canales,Khedira,Leon,Marcelo dis will b a gr8 team!!plus remember we have da best keeper in da world Casillas!!!!we also have in form striker Higuain!!Benzema will return 2 his best dis year fr sure!!!

    August 13, 2010 at 6:37 am | Reply
  20. Zzazza

    I expect that the rivallry between Barcelona and Madrid will be bigger this year because Maurinho has a big mouth and stirs things up positively I find he is a defensive trainer not an attacker like Guardiola

    August 13, 2010 at 7:01 am | Reply
  21. olalekan owoeye oluyemi

    l love the man very well beause he is man of his word and l hope he will be able to do something and as supportter we should be praying for them l personal like realmadrid being supporting since over 10 years l can go and back again forward ever hope to perform these season

    August 14, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  22. AB

    money dont play soccer men you better tell all this tierd super stars they have to do more work for what they get paid? if i do my job like the super stars from madrid my boss will send me homeso long! i hope mourinho will kick them into action!

    August 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  23. midge

    The ingredients for success are there now. What the team needs is reorganization especially at the back. Kaka should be played in the middle. Am looking forward to Ozil and Khedira gelling in the team.
    Real for life.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  24. steven

    the genius will prevail...he jose will emerge the best coach of this century...cant wait for the battle of the two giants...

    August 20, 2010 at 3:38 am | Reply
  25. daniel


    August 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  26. Tony

    Considering how well Mesut Ozil played this summer with a good supporting cast, imagine how much better he will be with a truly great supporting cast. He may not be the one scoring the goals, but he will definitely be the one setting many up. Xavi is to Barcelona what Ozil will be to Real Madrid.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Reply

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