Who Is Real Madrid’s Player Of The Season

The rebirth of the Galacticos empire saw a stream of megastars and fresh faces arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer. Players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso, just to name a few, ushered in a new chapter for Real Madrid, but the old faces such as Marcelo, Guti, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Ramos refused to simply fade into the background out of the spotlight.

Integration and familiarity was a huge problem for coach Manuel Pellegrini and his troops early in the campaign as the new and the old took their time to gel. As the season progressed, the Men In White grew stronger and sharper on the pitch and eventhough their standard of attractive football didn’t quite reach lofty expectations, the players still managed to shine individually and collectively.

Below are the five nominees for Real Madrid’s player of the season in no particular order, followed by my vote at the bottom.

1. Alvaro Arbeloa

For a while midway through the season, there were arguments that Arbeloa had become Madrid’s best summer signing in terms of value for money, thanks to his adaptability in defence as well as his invaluable contribution in attack. Indeed, the €6 million arrival, who scored two goals in the entirety of his two and a half seasons at Liverpool, has already tallied that same amount this season alone for Los Blancos. He has also provided two assists, ironically both against Deportivo La Coruna. It may not be mind-blowing statistics, but for a player who wasn’t expected to be a regular fixture in the first year of the Galactico project, he has become one of the integral figures.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo
CR9 cost close to €90 million more than Arbeloa, but despite his outrageous goals to game ratio, there are still on-going debates that he is not worth his €94m price tag, or that he is not the same player he once was at Manchester United. However, he made a stellar start to life at the Santiago Bernabeu, scoring nine goals in his first seven competitive games before injury struck. Even then, the near-two-month-long absence wasn’t enough to slow him down as he picked up where he left off straight away upon his return. His value and importance to Madrid increased immeasurably in the final few weeks of the league season when he scored vital goals to single-handedly save his club’s season by keeping his team in the title race.

3. Gonzalo Higuain
Despite the millions poured into the dressing room and the amount of attacking superstars brought in over the summer, it was the no-frills Higuain who kept the team from sinking midway through the season, especially during Ronaldo’s injury lay-off. On paper, he started the campaign behind Raul and Karim Benzema in attack and he managed just two goals in the first seven competitive games of the season. But once he was given the opportunity by Manuel Pellegrini to prove his worth in the star-studded Galactico side, he never looked back. With 27 league goals so far, he is once again Madrid’s leading marksman in La Liga.

4. Guti. Haz

Much like Higuain, Guti was expected to slowly fade away when the new breed of Galacticos started parading into the Spanish capital. He made a decent start to the season, scoring three goals and making two assists in the first four weeks of the term, but the debacle against Alcorcon in the Copa del Rey in late October changed everything. The temperamental genius was cast aside after bust-ups with his team-mates and his coach and he struggled with injuries. But once he returned, he was a completely transformed man and he would often be the player to completely transform games in Madrid’s favour when called upon. In what looks almost certain to be his final season in the famous white shirt, he will most be remembered this season for his jaw-dropping backheel assist for Karim Benzema in the 3-1 win at Deportivo La Coruna.


5. Xabi Alonso
The unsung hero in this Madrid side. Xabi often carries on with his job on the field with minimal fuss and hype, but it is a job that allows the likes of Cristiano, Kaka, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Arbeloa to go about their job of providing the attacking thrust. Alonso’s importance to the balance of the team is best demonstrated by the fact that he has started 33 out of 37 league games so far and he has accumulated 3043 minutes on the pitch, more than any other outfield player in the squad. His contribution is often unseen up in the scoreboard or in the statistic sheets - having netted only three goals and provided five assist - but the dirty work he has to perform to recover lost possession and turn it into a sublime 50-yard cross field pass has become his very own masterpiece artwork.
My vote: Cristiano Ronaldo

No surprises here. It was also going to be between CR9 and Higuain, but the Portuguese gets the nod because of his ability to lift his and the team’s game in moments where ‘El Pipa’ has failed to do so, especially in crucial encounters when the side had their backs against the wall. 33 strikes in 34 games in all competitions (at the time of writing) speaks for itself.

Source : http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/88/spain/2010/05/11/1919406/goalcom-special-who-is-real-madrids-player-of-the-season

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