The difference a team development strategy makes

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the possible sale of Suarez to Arsenal and the possible capture of that deal by Real Madrid. I suspect that most pundits are correct that Liverpool won’t be interested in selling Suarez to an English club but that they wouldn’t mind, nor would Suarez I suppose, to sell him to a team like Real Madrid.

The interesting thing in all of this is that the discussion doesn’t deal with that other Spanish power-house, Barcelona. This displays the substantial difference that divides the two teams. Real Madrid’s team development strategy appears to consist of the team buying the most skilled players, regardless of cost, and then trying to make a team from a disparate series of players.

Barcelona have a play strategy that the team develops players and coaches to use and then imports players that are familiar with it or young enough to train to play in that style. The on-field strategy informs player development. Which is why it wouldn’t even make sense for Barcelona to buy a player like Suarez but it fits the m.o. of Real Madrid.

The same could be said for Rooney. No-one would ever consider Rooney playing at Barcelona but it isn’t out of the question to imagine him following Beckham and seeing him playing in Madrid.