Why do El Clasico stars fall on Bayern?
Background photo: Dronepicr, CC by 2.0
El Clasico is the most-watched domestic game in the world. That's just one reason players are willing to abandon their clubs to feature for either La Liga giant, Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Many who think a move to a Clasico team will flip the switch on their career often wake up to a brutal reality. The grass isn’t always greener. They arrive at Barca or Real only to discover their talent isn’t enough to compete in a large pond. Joy is quickly sought elsewhere. In that eventually, Bayern Munich doesn’t seem far away.
A sensational midfield pair, James Rodriguez and Philippe Coutinho joined the Bavarians from Real and Barca respectively. They cost a combined €220 million to bring them to La Liga.
Bayern signed both on loan. For Rodriguez, his deal lasted two full seasons. After finding his way back to Madrid's bench this summer, the Colombian's Die Roten place has been taken by Coutinho. The Brazilian's own season-long journey began two days ago.
Other stars have departed El Clasico clubs for Munich. In 2013, Thiago Alcantara made the switch having unsuccessfully battled limited minutes at Camp Nou.
Further down memory lane, Arjen Robben left Real for Bayern in 2009. The Dutchman enjoyed a stellar career in Bavaria before retiring last month. His compatriot, Mark van Bommel also had success with the German giants after seeking an escape from Barca.
Are these all coincidences?
Unlikely. Bayern have created a soft landing for Clasico talent. They don’t just sign whoever Los Blancos and Blaugrana spew out. The Bavarians go for the best.
Not renewing Rodriguez' loan deal shouldn't come as a surprise. Bayern milked him. In his 67 appearances, he scored 15 goals, provided 20 assists to help the team win two Bundesliga titles as well as a DFB-Pokal. That was before Coutinho became available.
Thiago, meanwhile, remains highly influential in Die Roten's midfield. His value [per Transfermarkt] now stands at €70 million. Bayern only had to pay €25 million to take him. Many believe he was wrongly sold by Barca.
Wrongly sold by Barcelona, Thiago has become an world-class deep-lying playmaker at Bayern Munich.
Good at passing, tackling and at arriving late in the box, injuries have been his biggest problem in his football career https://t.co/XKbAzQzQbb
Robben, without a doubt, played his best football at Bayern Munich, not Real Madrid. He won the most tiles there as well.
It all points toward Bayern's aggressive transfer policy. They aren’t just poaching the best players in Germany, they’re adding Madrid and Barca's unsettled big-names to their shopping list.
One must also consider how difficult it is to resist the Bavarians' advances. Actually, Die Roten are as irresistible as both Clasico clubs. Their philosophy is easy to buy into. With 29 Bundesliga titles and a big chance of winning it again this season, there’s a trophy guarantee for any player who joins.
When Bayern add playing time to their offer, watching El Clasico from the bench becomes far less enticing. As was later revealed about Coutinho, he pushed for a move to the Allianz Arena.
It shouldn’t amaze anyone should similar transfers happen in the near future. Boredom in Barcelona or Madrid being aptly substituted for a cozy life in Bavaria. Who could be next?
Ousmane Dembele is a possibility...