From Ronaldo in 2002 to James Rodriguez in 2014, Real Madrid have a proud history of spending big on the biggest talent at the World Cup. Here we predict the 2018 Galacticos...
The eagle-eyed among you may recall how following Russia’s opening game I mentioned that Florentino Perez does not like to bring players back to the Bernabeu, but in the case of Denis Cheryshev the Madrid chief could yet make an exception.
The 27-year-old winger learned his trade with Madrid, signing for them as a 12-year-old youth player in 2002 and in total he spent 14 years on their books, including four years with their reserve side.
A series of loan spells followed and Cheryshev only ever managed two full appearances for Madrid before eventually completing a permanent move to Villareal, but going by the form he’s showing for Russia so far, Perez could be suddenly having regrets.
Fresh from leading his side to a 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia with a brace of goals in Russia’s World Cup opener, Cheryshev kept up that form to all but secure his side’s passage to the knock-out stage.
The winger was a constant threat against Egypt, always offering himself as an option on the attack and closing down high up the pitch as Russia proved to be far too strong for Egypt to handle.
A neatly taken goal took his tally to the tournament to three and suddenly Cheryshev is at the top of the Golden Boot standings alongside former Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
A reunion at club level would once have been unthinkable but if Cheryshev keeps up the kind of form he’s shown so far, it might have Perez getting all weepy eyed and nostalgic as he listens to Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi over a glass of sangria.
There’s been no end of transfer speculation linking Poland striker Robert Lewandowski with a summer move to Real Madrid.
The 29-year-old has just had another stormer of a season with Bayern Munich and prior to the World Cup was quite open on how he was looking for a new challenge.
If that challenge is to be at the Bernabeu, Lewandowski will have to improve markedly on his performance in Poland’s 2-1 defeat against Senegal.
The Polish striker struggled to impose himself on the game in any meaningful way and showed a lack of discipline in dropping deeper and deeper when he chased after the ball as the game progressed.
Senegal aren’t exactly known for their defensive solidity and the way in which Lewandowski struggled to make an impact against them may have Perez quietly putting his cheque book back in the drawer.