Real Madrid is trying to keep Barcelona off the summer page. Given Real Madrid’s struggles over the past two seasons, and the potential for money coming back from the FA Cup and Champions League that could include Lionel Messi and Neymar, the Spaniards had two options: Sell off Leo Ronaldo, or try to hold onto him, no matter what, just as they did last summer, and then either sign Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement or bring in additional youth.
So far, Real Madrid’s approach seems to be to hold on to what it can and keep the roster, and the rest in check — but at least there is an end game. Here are the latest transfer rumors in recent weeks. (Note: While Real Madrid would be the obvious fit for Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, the contract he recently signed reportedly has a no-window clause.)
Barcelona tries to avoid another downturn
While Real Madrid is obsessed with the summer, Barcelona is trying to avoid a downtrend over the last few seasons. After a two-year free fall, Barcelona has turned things around this season, making an unexpected run to the Champions League semifinals before being eliminated by Juventus.
With the four-time defending league champions set to face Real Madrid on Sunday, the two contenders are not likely to meet again until June. With that game looming, Barca has been putting out occasional signals that it is trying to keep the bar high, even if they need to raise the bar. For example, Lionel Messi didn’t score a goal in a recent game and was substituted, but nobody noticed; Barcelona won.
Meanwhile, Sporting Director Robert Fernandez is also showing some quiet interest in helping Real Madrid win, as ESPN reported.
Real Madrid eyeing summer spending spree
Another summer is looming, which means the principal from whom Real Madrid got Ronaldo, Florentino Perez, is trying to keep the money coming in for the recently retired superstar. So far, Barca has proved the best financial asset Perez could have; Real Madrid has a goal difference of -5, eight worse than Barcelona’s -6.
— The Washington Post