It was bound to happen – that one or more of the five Dutch players at Spanish football club Real Madrid would become sidelined.
Real Madrid is one of the biggest clubs in the world and can attract the most talented players. To select Dutch men for five of its 10 outfield positions was never going to happen on a regular basis.
The players themselves should have realised this but probably thought that with enough self-belief they would make it. Some of them were of course wrong.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the goal-getter who left Ajax of Amsterdam late last year is rumoured to seeking another club after Real Madrid did not put him in the squad for the European Champions League.
Midfielder Royston Drenthe, at 21 the youngest Dutchman at Madrid, is reportedly stressed out after the home fans turned against him.
Midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, with more years and more experience than Drenthe, is also having problems proving himself at Madrid. He was today rumoured to be seeking to rejoin his previous club HSV of Hamburg, a claim he himself denied.
The remaining two Dutchmen, striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and winger Arjen Robben are almost certain to be selected if fit: the problem is Robben is injury prone and Van Nistelrooy is out for the rest of the season after a knee operation.
Whatever the pro’s and cons of playing at Madrid, it’s a crying shame that several top Dutch players are not regularly playing the game they love. Their ambition needs to be tamed with a bit more realism.
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