What a week it’s been as a Real Madrid fan. That late Karim Benzema-inspired victory over Elche. League leaders Atletico Madrid dropping more points. Transfer rumours were hot as ever, first they were just about Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, now there’s talk of Cristiano Ronaldo potentially returning. And to top it all of, a link between Amazon and Real Madrid, what’s that all about? Let’s take a look.
Jeff Bezoz x Florentino Perez…surely not?
February 5th, 2018. That’s the day Real Madrid’s general manager Jose Angel Sanchez sent an email to Amazon boss Jeff Bezoz, with one objective – the Spanish giants wanted to construct a strategic partnership between the global e-commerce giant and the biggest club in the world.
This is according to the latest round of Football Leaks, this particular one published by the Spanish investigative journalism website infoLibre, an institution which recently joined the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC).
It’s understood that Los Blancos bosses were willing to handover their database which included data from 600 million fans across the world, in exchange for content production and sponsorship. Being the owners of the biggest fanbase on the planet, Sanchez knew it’s an opportunity too good to pass-up on for Amazon, and therefore, began constructing his plan.
The Madrid executive approached Jeff’s step-father Mike Bezoz, who already had a good relationship with the Spaniard. That relationship goes back to 2013, the leaks say, the year in which Mike was invited to Valdebebas as part of an event for Real Madrid foundation. Therefore, using Mike, Sanchez could hasten the talks and bolster his plans, and get the deal done.
But according to the leaks, there isn’t a definitive answer as to what materialised. Perhaps Madrid did hand-over the powerful database to Amazon? But there isn’t an official partnership, nothing has been disclosed, and both parties have yet to even acknowledge the leaks, let alone deny them.
It does however paint a pretty grim picture regarding the ethics and morals of Real Madrid. The database which they were offering no doubt has personal information and data of fans, which would allow Amazon to do so much with that information. How much of that would Amazon have access to, had the deal gone through? And what stopped Madrid from going through with it, or did they stop? There are several outstanding questions for both parties to answer. Maybe the leaks will strike again.
And that brings us nicely onto the next hot topic of the week. Yet again, Real suffered before a moment of brilliance clinched the three points for the defending champions, but the same issues were there. There’s a trend about Madrid, and it has been there since 2018, when they let Ronaldo leave, and didn’t bother replacing him. He’s now 36-years old, but is still scoring for fun in Serie A, while Madrid are struggling to score. But having been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League last week at the hands of Porto, there are genuine reports from genuinely reliable journalists that the Portuguese wants to leave Juventus, and return to Madrid.
As of now, it seems like it could happen, especially if it’s a free or an otherwise fairly cheap transfer fee. The journalist who reported that he wants to return is Manu Sainz, a journalist who’s considered very close to the superstar on a personal level. He believes Ronaldo would do anything to return, even lower his salary demands. Now for Madrid, what do they do?
Three years ago, they allowed him to leave and wanted to move on, when they shouldn’t have. But as they did, they should have replaced him, but didn’t. Now when the time has come to move on, and the players who they’ve targeted for years as Ronaldo’s replacements, have become available, there’s now a chance that Ronaldo returns?
For me, the solution is simple, and it’s what MARCA have reported today. If Madrid can bring back Ronaldo, and still sign one of Haaland or Mbappe, then that would obviously be a dream come true, not only for us fans, but certainly for Zinedine Zidane. It’s believed the Frenchman will get at least one more season at Madrid, regardless of what happens this year, so why not back him with fire-power?
There’s a part of me that wants to be selfish, so hear me out. If Ronaldo does return, and the club still feels like that won’t interrupt signing one of the other two, then I would prefer it to be Haaland. The Norwegian and Mbappe are clearly going to be the two attackers who define an era for the next decade, Madrid cannot watch that happen while one of them is elsewhere. Mbappe is a huge Madrid fan, he will find his way to the Santiago Bernabeu one day, whether that’s in 2022 if he decides to run his Paris Saint Germain contract down, or whether that’s in two or three years time. He will eventually find his way to Madrid. Haaland may not. The Borussia Dortmund striker might even end up at Barcelona or Manchester City, two clubs who would make it nearly impossible to prize the forward away. Therefore, while I absolutely adore Mbappe, the dream of having both Mbappe and Haaland is likelier to come true if Haaland joins first.
Of course, there is still a chance Haaland stays at Dortmund until his release clause can become activated in 2022. It’s likelier that his teammate Jadon Sancho leaves this upcoming summer, because he was heavily linked with a move away throughout last summer – and can Dortmund really let both their star assets leave in the same window? I have my doubts. And so, if Haaland remains at Dortmund, then Madrid should do everything to convince Mbappe to leave PSG in 2021, bring his idol Ronaldo back too, and then go all out for Haaland in 2022. There’s a reason why Florentino has wanted a better relationship with Mino Raiola, the club have certainly been working on this deal, it’s just a matter of when Haaland leaves, Madrid will be among the favourites to get that deal done when the time comes.
But to decide between Ronaldo, Haaland and Mbappe, that’s a very healthy problem to have. Madrid fans are craving a major improvement to the attack, what’s happening right now is simply unacceptable. Something drastic needs to happen, or when fans return to either the Alfredo Di Stefano or the Bernabeu, there will be white handkerchiefs being waved at Florentino and his presidency.
Column by Muddassir Hussain | Follow me on Twitter: @muddassirjourno