Sunday, 26 July 2009

Has Real Madrid bought itself a Champions League title?

The era of the Galacticos has well and truly returned, with Real Madrid flexing its financial muscles at an extraordinary rate this summer.Having already captured Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka in blockbuster deals worth more than $200 million combined, the Spanish giant added one of Europe's hottest young stars by beating Manchester United to the signature of Karim Benzema. The exciting young French striker formerly of Lyon could be joined by Liverpool's Xabi Alonso as Real aims to spend its way out of trouble after a horrible 2008-09 season and looks to topple hated rivals Barcelona as both champions of Spain and Europe.
Such a show of fiscal force would figure to give the club a huge edge next season. Yet history suggests that such lavish spending does not always reap immediate results on the field.
The previous Galacticos era -- which featured a squad including Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham plus a long list of other superstars -- only won a La Liga title in its final season together.
Barcelona knows it has a spectacular and cohesive squad already at its disposal and United is not the sort of club to run scared of anyone. So while Real's turbo-charged check book has lit up the summer transfer market, it does not guarantee success next season.
The scars of the dismal year that has just past will take some time to wash away, and much will hinge on how quickly the new stars blend in. At this stage, Barca and United still look to be in pole position for Euro glory.
1. Barcelona2. Manchester United3. Chelsea4. Real Madrid 5. Liverpool

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