In the latest opera that we have come to know as Real Madrid, the Spanish football giants are again making waves all over the world for all the wrong reasons.
A couple of days back, the Madrid giants beat Cadiz 3-1 in their first Copa del Rey match of the season. The performance of Rafael Benitez’s side throughout the game was amazing and showed just why the team still has a lot to play for in the league this season. However, the game will not be remembered for those reasons. In fact, a really stupid mistake that could have been avoided altogether, threatens to further derail the club’s season.
The team’s manager fielded Russian international, Denis Cheryshev in the starting XI and it was the winger who scored the opening goal of the game from a brilliant James Rodriguez cross. However, it was not the goal (a brilliantly taken goal for that matter) that sent shockwaves – it was the fact that the Russian was not supposed to be named in the starting lineup since he was shown three yellow cards in the same competition last season while he was on loan at Villarreal.
For all the money they spend on players and their mind-boggling salaries, Real Madrid authorities did not have the hindsight to see if the player was actually eligible to play in the cup. According to Spanish Football Federation Laws, a player is supposed to be suspended for one game after receiving three yellow cards in a cup competition and the suspension shall stand if that player is transferred to another team.
Madrid it appears, had completely forgotten the legality which means that the club could be disqualified from the competition.
Funny thing is that Madrid didn’t even bother to check up their player’s progress at Villarreal last season so they never knew about the suspension. Blaming the Yellow Submarine (Villarreal’s nickname) for not notifying them of the suspension is like asking your friend if he brought your lunchbox to the school bus. Your player, your problem!
And while Benitez substituted Cheryshev at half-time and called it an act of “good faith”, the damage had already been done. Cadiz may be a small team, operating on a shoestring budget and will probably never win anything of note for the next fifty years or so but they were very much well-prepared for everything even though they never once criticized their opponents.
Cadiz president, Manuel Vizcaino never wanted to take things to this direction but revealed that Real Madrid were never aware of their indiscretion until he contacted them.
“We will report Real Madrid. No one at Real Madrid called me. People at Real Madrid heard it from me. They were surprised,” he said.
And while Madrid officials say that the whole issue is just a big misunderstanding, it is clear that the club is trying to do anything it can to save face especially after a fax – which was sent out to all clubs before the season, circulated on Twitter. The fax clearly showed the list of players and their suspensions for the 2015/16 campaign and Cheryshev’s name was among those carrying bans into the new season.
Oddly enough, this is not the first time Madrid have had a problem with a fax machine this season.
In the dying embers of the summer transfer market, they were on the verge of signing Manchester United goalkeeper, David de Gea only to see the move collapse in the last hour of the window after they failed to send the required paperwork back to Manchester United via fax. That scenario could’ve been avoided as well had Madrid not prolonged the transfer saga and paid United what they were asking for.
The blame game soon followed just like now but ultimately, it is the club’s reputation that has taken another hit.
The Cheryshev issue however, is not the only issue that is destroying the club’s image. Star striker, Karim Benzema is currently embroiled in an extortion saga, weaved around national teammate, Mathieu Valbuena’s sex-tape scandal. The striker is charged with conspiracy to blackmail his international teammate and although Madrid are behind their player, how many more hits can the club take?
From Cristiano Ronaldo’s issues with the management to Sergio Ramos’ subliminal criticism of the manager, it appears that Madrid is turning into a soap opera that is fun to watch from the outside but not so much for those associated with the club.