“That was the genius of the Real Madrid formula. You bet on the greatest talent in the world, you bet on what was enduring and universal, and then, even if you lost, you always won” – John Carlin, White Angels
So. Is David De Gea leaving Manchester United for the madness, money and glory of Real Madrid? We don’t know. The player said nothing as he walked off injured after 74 minutes of United’s 1-1 draw against Arsenal yesterday.
He said nothing much on social media, either, tweeting his thanks for United’s ‘unbelievable” support and inviting everyone to join him in the hope his injury is not too serious.
— David De Gea (@D_DeGea) May 17, 2015
De Gea’s injury will most likely keep him out of United’s final home match at Hull City on Sunday.
So. Has he played his final game for United? That question to you, Louis Van Gaal:
“You are asking things that I can’t answer — I don’t know. I’ve also said the transfer is an individual thing. He has to decide. We have given him a fantastic contract because we want him to stay.
“He’s had a fantastic season, I think, but I analyse his position and then I say he is Spanish, he is a Spanish international still behind [Iker] Casillas, now a Spanish club is coming, his girlfriend is Spanish, his father and mother come every week or every two weeks to here so it is difficult.”
The thing about Real Madrid is that they always get their man. They and their president Florentino Perez simply have to. John Carlin explains the thinking in White Angels:
“That was the genius of the Real Madrid formula. You bet on the greatest talent in the world, you bet on what was enduring and universal, and then, even if you lost, you always won.”
To Perez the players are the trophies.
What player can fail to be tempted by football’s brightest and biggest football team and the knowledge that they are among the world’s best? Real Madrid buffs a player’s ego until it shines.
Mindful of the galaticos model that has seen Real spend £1bn of Spanish gold on players in the past 14 years and more often than not fail to win any silver, Van Gaal makes an appeal to De Gea’s heart:
“I don’t think that I can persuade him because he knows everything that he has at this moment at Manchester United so I don’t have to say something in benefit of Manchester United because he can feel it every day.
“Have you seen the fans today? Unbelievable. It was a fantastic reaction, also for him individually. When he is going, he is losing that. When he is here he has a lot of credits. He has to decide.”
Feel the love.
But this is, of course, Van Gaal who brought on Tim Krul for the penalty shoot-out in Holland’s World Cup quarter-final against Costa Rica. Krul wound the Costa Ricans up, pointed to his head a lot and saved two spot kicks. The Dutch progressed. Van Gaal was tactical genius.
But what of Jasper Cillessen, the goalkeeper who had not been told that at the reckoning he’d be substituted?
To Van Gaal, it’s all about winning the game’s biggest prizes. And if De Gea wants to win big, well, he’ll be house-hunting in Madrid.