Spanish Football Expert & Columnist @GuillemBalague
Nou start for Drog?
Guillem Balague blogs on Barcelona's chances of landing Didier Drogba and Sergio Ramos' attributes.
Last Updated: 08/05/12 2:16pm
It has been the season of Iker Casillas.
Jose Mourinho wanted Real Madrid to take the controversial, us-against-the world-line and while that has given them a sense of unity, Casillas was the level-headed guy who kept them focussed on the football. Mourinho has enjoyed that because he likes people challenging him in creative ways.
Mourinho has to be the best manager in the world, having now won the league in four countries (at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid).
His teams have had a common style of being solid at the back, but he has been a bit more attacking this season because he has never had such quality in a squad as he has in this Real Madrid one. They have broken the goal-scoring record and deserve a lot of praise.We will talk more about Real's achievements next week...
Guillem answers your questions...
Have a question for Guillem? Then send it in here or use the feedback form below, and then look out for his answer next week.
Hi Guillem, as a keen Celtic and Barca fan, I always wondered how Henrik Larsson was looked upon in Spain. Back when he played for Barcelona they had a great team and it would usually be a toss-up between him and Ludovic Giuly as to who played along with Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho up front, while he changed the course of the Champions League Final against Arsenal in 2006 I would like to hear your thoughts on him and also what his status was like in Barcelona? Thanks, John Henderson (Celtic fan)
GUILLEM SAYS: Larsson was a success at Barcelona and the kind of player that they perhaps missed this season; a very professional player who can come on and make a difference. He is seen as a hero and some people in the Catalan press are suggesting it would be a good idea to bring in someone like Didier Drogba to fill that kind of role. I know Drogba is in love with Spanish football and Barcelona but, in my eyes, Chelsea are still favourites to keep him for another year.
Hi Guillem, As a Valencia fan I'm worried that our squad is lacking both flair and consistency in all areas. Do you think this will be the summer in which we will not have to sell in order to improve the squad? Mark McKenna (Valencia fan)
GUILLEM SAYS: I don't know how you can say Valencia lack flair and consistency in all areas when they are third in the league behind a stratospheric Real Madrid and Barcelona. That may be Valencia's problem: the fans expect things that they cannot fulfil. Valencia have been up and down but so have every other team in the world apart from Real and Barcelona, and even Barcelona have had bad moments. Valencia have got to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and the Europa League; that is Unai Emery's best season as a manager and yet the club still do not renew his contract. Valencia owe money and there is a possibility that Roberto Soldado could be sold. He admitted himself that if PSG want him that he would be willing to go. Until they sort out the situation with the new stadium, the building of which has been delayed, Valencia will still have to balance the books.
Hola Guillem. Firstly, keep up the good work with your posts on the skysports.com website, always a good read. There are rumours that Barcelona are looking to sell Dani Alves but I feel he would be very hard to replace as he brings a lot to the team. What is your view? Also, do you think Barca will try to add some height to the team this summer as it is something that has caught them out against teams like Real Madrid and Chelsea? Cheers, Rod Massie
GUILLEM SAYS: Barcelona will accept a big offer for Dani Alves because they need money for a centre-back, a left-back and a striker. Alves is one of those players who would be difficult to replace but would generate some funds. That doesn't mean he will go but he is on the market. Secondly, more than height, the main problem for Barcelona - who had the best defence in La Liga remember - is to replace Xavi and Carles Puyol who can only play 30 games per season now.
HEADED TO THE REDS?
Dear Guillem, I am wondering now that Barcelona have set their sights on Thiago Silva, Jordi Alba and Neymar, does this clear the road for a move from a Premier League team for Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente? They are two very talented players and a team like Manchester United are crying out for them. Do you think they would consider a move to United? I know it was mentioned in the past that Barcelona would be going for them but I hope they will come to United as they would be perfect for us. Thanks, Wajid Iqbal (Man United fan)
GUILLEM SAYS: Javi Martinez will cost 40million euros so if anyone wants to pay that money he will go but Athletic Bilbao don't need to sell. He can play at centre-back or in centre midfield but although there is interest, people are put off by the price. Fernando Llorente is different. He has one year left on his contract and he will either sign a new deal or Athletic Bilbao may be forced to accept an offer from abroad. I'll have more Llorente news to bring you in the coming weeks...
CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
Hello Guillem, I wanted to know whether you feel it's time Real Madrid started breeding Raphael Varane at centre-back. I'm sure you'll agree that he is a great talent and whenever Varane plays in the back with Pepe, Iker Casillas seems more assured. Do you think Sergio Ramos should be drafted back to his favoured attacking right-back position and Varane in next to Pepe? I think so because Ramos provides a more attacking option for us than Alvaro Arbeloa. Thanks in advance, Vishal Vijaykumar (Real Madrid fan)
GUILLEM SAYS: Ramos has been the best centre-back in La Liga and he will continue in that position. He became Real's centre-back in week four and that is when Real started to play the football they wanted to play. He is fast, strong and can anticipate, he can take the defensive line high up the pitch and he is brave leader. Real can build from the back thanks to him and Ramos and Pepe will remain as the centre-backs next season. Real are, however, looking for an attacking right-back to complement the more defensive Arbeloa.
Keep your questions coming in and don't forget to follow Guillem on Twitter: @GuillemBalague
Stay tuned to skysports.com next week as Guillem reflects on the La Liga campaign.