With the taste of sweet victory still lingering in my mouth I sit here thinking about how worn out the players might be after last night’s duel. The game was fierce, not so competitive and nail-biting and it was only late in the game that the tie was decided. With the Clasico looming we need to ensure that the wear and tear effect is not a factor. We do have a big squad and with quality players so finding replacements should not be a problem.
One such quality player on the fringe is Fernando Gago. The Argentine international is one of the senior-most players only by merit of playing for Real Madrid since 2007. Basically a defensive midfielder, the former Boca Juniors star has tremendous temperament and is naturally talented. He is a natural number 5 and can contribute both defensively and offensively by destructing opponent’s attacks and initiating our own by threading balls through to our strikers. And all these attributes of his makes us fans draw comparisons with another similar Argentine who made a name for himself here at Real Madrid in the same position that Gago plays right now. I’m talking about none other than the legendary Fernando Redondo. The style of play, the first name and the appearance all make Gago a doppelgänger of Redondo.
Fernando Carlos Redondo Neri was brought in to our side in the same season as a certain 17-year-old kid of the name Raul Gonzalez Blanco made his debut for the senior team in the 1994-95 season when, then our manager, Jorge Valdano lured him from Tenerife in hopes of building a team that could win the La Liga. The team eventually did win the league that season and Redondo slowly emerged as one of our key players and moreover became a fan favorite winning the hearts of several Madridistas. He was known for his commitment to the club more than anything else and displayed this through several examples throughout his career. Skills wise too he was simply sensational. Redondo in his time was arguably the best midfielder in the world. Laid back, hard-working and capable of making crucial passes, he was neither a goalscorer nor a showboating kind of player but he belonged to that different breed of footballers who can simply control the game better than anybody else on the field. More sort of a ventriloquist or an orchestrator you can say. He was calm and composed as well and ergo had all the essential attributes that a number 5 needs most. During the time when the world of football got to see the likes of Keane, Scholes, Guardiola, Effenberg, Rivaldo and several such legends performing on a weekly basis Fernando stood out and on his day made the aforementioned greats look like nothing.
Gago is talented. But whether or not he is as good as Redondo remains to be seen. Both Pellegrini and Mourinho did not want to sell him despite the player wanting to leave and that shows you his quality. The advantage of having a player like Gago is that he can play in either of the midfield positions and that I mean either the Xabi Alonso or Sami Khedira role. Yes, of course he cannot do the same things that either can. He does not have a passing range like Alonso does and cannot be as strong as Khedira both while attacking and defending. But Gago gives us another option just like Lass does with his versatility and like Diarra does with his experience. Gago, if you ask me, was at his best in the 2007-08 season under Bernd Schuster when he was given a lot of opportunities to excel. Its probably opportunities that matters to him and I hope he is given enough when he returns from injury.
The player is currently in Buenos Aires undergoing a recovery procedure on the knee that he injured in the beginning of the season. He will return to the Spanish capital on November 22 to begin the rehabilitation and recovery of his knee. Like Mourinho said earlier this season Gago along with Kaka would be our two new signings cometh the winter and I am pretty sure that he would be a welcome addition.
Who knows? Gago might just win us a champions league title just like how his doppelgänger did a decade ago.
Until next time,
Para Siempre Blanco!