Real Madrid are on the verge of completing the transfer of Diarra from Lyon and the news has prompted Fabio Capello to claim “He was the number one for us and I’m happy that we have reached an agreement”.
With the signing of Lyon Midfielder Mahamadou Diarra, Fabio Capello has finally signed the player who will allow him to impose his trademark pragmatic tactical formation upon Real Madrid .The Mali international is a player who adds defensive stability to the midfield, reads the game brilliantly and is a very tough tackler. His ability to offer added protection to the back four makes him the typical ‘Capello’ type player.
It might even be said that Fabio Capello has signed a ‘Lion’ to link up with his ‘Puma’ and put them in the ‘cage’ at Real Madrid.
Diarra, who’s name means ‘Lion’ in his native language would link up with Emerson, nicknamed the ‘Puma’, in midfield and form a partnership that is the trademark of Capello’s preferred tactical formation.
Capello has been brought to Real Madrid by Calderon to win football matches. His trademark style is not pretty but it is effective. He always uses the same basic team structure everywhere he goes that is based upon a solid core of players that gives the team its identity. These teams rarely concede a goal.
Capello always prioritises building a solid central defensive pairing that he then protects with two combative central midfielders just in front of them. He calls these four players the ‘cage’.
Opposing players who find themselves in this ‘cage’ find their creativity is stifled and their goal scoring opportunities minimised. Unfortunately for Real Madrid fans accustomed to the Galactico fantasy, it has the same effect on both teams.
Capello’s Juventus relied upon a central defensive pairing of Cannavaro and Thuram with Emerson and Appiah or Blasi as a shield in front of them. Ten years ago, at Real Madrid, Capello used the same system to ‘cage’ Ronaldo at Barcelona. Then he relied upon Hierro and Alkorta in defence and Redondo and Seedorf in midfield.
Capello said previously that he is looking for more players, in particular a midfielder who “gives everything to the team”.
Lyon team mate Juninho says “Quite simply, when you watch Lyon play, you realise pretty quickly that Diarra is the boss.”
Playing just in front of the defence, Diarra is charged, above all, with regulating the speed with which the opposition attacks - a job he relishes. “For me, it’s almost unnatural that someone should out-muscle me or the team in midfield,” he admitted. “And when it happens, then yes, I get angry and I fight back. Sometimes I almost feel possessed.”
A Capello player then.
If he joins up with Emerson at Real Madrid then the Real Madrid coach will have his cage. The last time Ronaldinho played at the Bernabeu he had the freedom of the park.
The next time he could find himself locked up with the Puma and the Lion.