After a rather disappointing start to the season, Real Madrid currently find themselves in a desperate situation. Los Blancos have been horrendous domestically and even though their Champions League campaign is off to flying start with a come-from-behind win against Manchester City, the club is apparently in turmoil.
If the latest reports are to be believed, there has been a ‘split inside the dressing room’ with the Spanish-speaking contingent of the club on one side and the Portuguese-speaking on the other. The root cause of this apparent split has been the fall-out between Jose Mourinho and Sergio Ramos. The latter was axed by the ‘Special One’ for Madrid’s all important Champions League clash against Manchester City, after he questioned Mourinho’s public criticism of the team. Some reports also suggest that Ramos is ready to leave the club this winter if the situation does not to improve.
If Real Madrid are to find the problem for the lacklustre form, one could point out towards this off-field tussle. However, there are also some on-field issues that have contributed to Madrid’s disappointing campaign thus far. One of them is Jose Mourinho’s inability and unwillingness to play Kaka.
TheHardTackle takes a look at why Real Madrid should give Kaka more playing time and how it could benefit both the club and the player.
Resurgence in Form
Ever since his miserable debut season, Kaka has never been able to truly establish himself as a first team regular at Madrid. He has often struggled with his fitness and his form has also spiralled downwards. Many critics feel that the former World Player of the Year is now just a shadow of what he was at Milan. In other words, his best days are behind him.
However, over the past couple of months, Kaka has shown a massive resurgence in form. The Brazilian had an excellent pre-season, during which he was one Madrid’s best players in all the games.
On Wednesday night, the 30-year-old had one of his best games in a Real Madrid shirt, albeit in a non-competitive game, as he led The Whites to an 8-0 friendly win over Millonarios Bogota.
The former Milan star was at his monumental best, tormenting the opposition with his trickery, setting up plays for his teammates and most importantly, getting his name on the score-sheet.
Day by day, match by match, Kaka is improving and it is perhaps Mourinho’s sheer ignorance that is keeping the former Sao Paulo star out of the team.
Ability to Fit Into the 4-2-3-1 Formation
It’s no secret that Jose Mourinho plays with a 4-2-3-1 formation. The formation consists of a flat back four, one defensive midfielder in Sami Khedira, one deep lying midfielder in Xabi Alonso, Mesut Oezil as the attacking midfielder and two central wingers in Ronaldo and Di Maria accompanying the poacher up front, usually Karim Benzema.
This 4-2-3-1 has yielded immense results for the club and is arguably the most efficient formation in world football right now. It is not only used by Los Blancos, but by almost all the successful European sides.
Due to Mourinho’s reliance on counter-attacks rather than build-up play, the four attackers up front rarely venture back to help the defence and subsequently get a considerable degree of freedom in their game. This can be best seen in the way Ronaldo and Di Maria constantly exchange their positions with Oezil and many a time, even Benzema interchanging his role with either of the wingers.
Even though one might argue that Oezil does not fulfil his defensive duties, the truth is that he doesn’t need to. The reason is quite simple.
Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso do more than enough to form the necessary link between defence and attack. With Khedira taking the role of breaking up the opponents’ play and winning back possession, Alonso does the tidy work of providing the front four with the incentive to start the counter attacks. With both the players fulfilling their roles most of the time, it allows Oezil to carry out his main duties- creating goalscoring opportunities and acting as the attacking hub of the team.
If Kaka is promoted into Madrid’s starting XI, he will probably take Oezil’s role of the No. 10. The player who’ll be dropped to the bench will depend upon various issues but could well be Oezil himself.
During his prime, Kaka mastered the ‘trequartista’, a.k.a., the No.10 role. His performance against Millonarios is a clear testament to this.
Kaka was deployed in the centre of the park and was a dominant force in that position. He was comfortable swapping places with the wingers, produced some exciting plays in the final third and even tracked back to help out the defenders.
The game truly showed that the star would have no problems whatsoever adapting or fitting into Madrid’s system of play and the sooner he’s inserted back into the first-team, the better it is for both the parties.
Oezil and Modric
One of the main reasons for Madrid’s poor form this season has been the lack of productivity from the centre of the park. As aforementioned, in the 4-2-3-1 formation, Mesut Oezil bears the pivotal responsibility of orchestrating the attack and adding creativity to the team. So far this season, Oezil’s performances have been far from satisfactory.
His passing has been mediocre at best, there has been a slight drop in pace, he’s losing the ball far too easily and he’s yet to notch a single assist or a goal in the La Liga this season.
New signing, Luka Modric, has also been unable to live up to his mammoth price-tag until now and has barely done anything noticeable on pitch since his arrival at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Therefore, it would be best for the team if Kaka is promoted back into the starting line-up. He’ll be able to flourish in his No. 10 role and could also help Oezil get some much-needed rest. With a heavy workload of fixtures coming up, it is essential that the German is given sufficient rest between games and is not drained out.
The above three points clearly explain why Kaka should be given more playing time at Madrid. The fact is that the lad has earned it. With the other players fighting among themselves or proclaiming their sadness, Kaka, with immense determination and hard work has transformed himself from a player rotting on the bench to a player who could save his team’s season.
It is uncertain why Mourinho doesn’t rate Kaka anymore, but if a player is good enough to be in the Brazil national team, then he’s surely good enough to start for a faltering club side.
Written by Guest Author Surya Solanki