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Can Gareth bale survive the ego challenge he faces at Real Madrid or will he move on to where his talent is appreciated? - Pablo Morquecho photo

 

SPORTS NOTES - MESSI, NEYMAR & SUAREZ WORK but RONALDO & BALE seem DIFFICULT

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

 

This season questions arise about the apparently souring relationship with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale and the team has fallen from grace of their success last season. The flip side is the smooth transition being made at Barcelona where the dynamic trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez is blending together for success and a winning form

 

 

Friday, March 27, 2015

WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

When teams add superstars the question arises will the team improve or will egos get in the way and the team falls apart due to too much talent. This was the case in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakes and the ego battles with Magic Johnson and Norm Nixon and more recently with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. In those cases the Lakers survived to win titles after dispatching Nixon and O'Neal but there was a period of adjustment.

With this being the NCAA college basketball Tournament season in America it brings to mind what former UCLA coach John Wooden said in my interview with him in 1990 that he never assembled a team with the best players but chose players that would play as a team. Wooden knew what he was talking about as his teams won 10 NCAA tournaments including seven in a row. When one factors in that the winningest coach of that tournament behind him has won only four it is evident that he was spot on with his decision making.

When Gareth Bale decided to leave Tottenham Hotspur to join Real Madrid much of the fuss was that he would make more money than its perennial star Christian Ronaldo. Some questioned if the relationship would work. Bale started slowly in trying to fit into a new system and blend in with a superstar player like Ronaldo. The first half of Bale's season was plagued by injuries; of Real's first sixteen games after his signing, Bale missed five and was substituted on or off in six others, playing only five full games. Bale suffered more injuries and missed more games. He played in only 27 league games last season while scoring 15 goals.

As the season progressed the duo blended and achieved with Madrid winning the Champions League and Ronaldo won FIFA's Ballon d'Or Award. The results indicate teamwork works until now as there have been rumblings that Bale's talent is not appreciated and he would leave the club. It is also rumored that Ronaldo is not happy and also desires a change of scene.

The team is not as strong as it was last season and at this writing Real Madrid trailed Barcelona in the standings by four points with Barcelona holding an 11 point advantage goal difference.

Ronaldo continues to be a scoring machine with 42 goals in 40 overall appearances. This season Bale's numbers 16 goals in 39 overall appearances. Many of Ronaldo's goals come on penalty kicks. His profile is similar to the NBA's Kobe Bryant where it's all about him and not about the team. There have been rumors that Ronaldo is not happy sharing the ball with Bale and distention is lurking.

The flip side of this coin is Luis Suarez joining Barcelona. Many felt his presence might cause a log jam of talent and too many strikers might get in the way of each other. There is no doubt that Lionel Messi is that team's super star and Neymar is his counterpart in their Batman and Robin relationship. Thus far the relationship of the now three South American strikers is working smoothly as Suarez is wisely not demanding being the center of attention as he was with Liverpool.

Messi leads the league in scoring with 32 goals trailed by Ronaldo with 31 and Neymar is third with 17. Suarez has 8 league goals and is progressing in getting into the rhythm of the Messi, Neymar tempo and chemistry. The result is there appears to be no ego problems in Barcelona.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has said there is "no hint of jealousy" in the relationship between his club's all-star strike force. "We are talking about the best players in the world" he said. "They understand each other perfectly. There is no hint of jealousy, and you can see that out on the field in their performances. They have a special relationship," the defender added.


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