Thursday, June 1, 2023

The doubts of a win

Real Madrid closed their participation in the Champions League conceding a 4-0 win at an Etihad in which they were dominated from start to finish, with a result that reflected the submission of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to a team that has passed from dreaming of the fifteenth ‘orejona’ to leaving doubts on the road for the next season.

Despite the fact that they have four games left in a National League in which only second place is played, with Atlético de Madrid, the Real Madrid team is already looking to the future. Champion of the European Super Cup, the Club World Cup and the Copa del Rey, but without the ability to compete every week for the title in the domestic championship and with a closing in the Champions League in which he was far from the superlative level set by City.

With the Italian Carlo Ancelotti away, it seems, from the siren songs that come to him from Brazil to take charge of the national team and focused on his contract with Real Madrid, until June 30, 2024, the time has come to plan the next season with the lessons of this.

A squad that lacked offensive resources on the bench. Staged in an Etihad Stadium in which only the Spanish Marco Asensio was an option for ‘Carletto’. He only had two other refreshment footballers in attack, but they are not in his plans: Mariano Díaz and Eden Hazard.

The first’s days at Real Madrid are numbered at the end of his contract, despite his attempts to continue, while the Belgian refuses to leave despite his little prominence -392 minutes this season- and chooses to fulfill the year that link subtraction with the white set.

Rodrygo Goes went from being that revulsive from the bench last season to starting this season, at the same time that no piece was added to fill that gap for the Brazilian. In addition, the status of starter on the right wing was taken from a midfielder, Fede Valverde, so the options were reduced. Thus, ‘Carletto’ has four attackers for the three positions above. Little to face all competitions.

Vinícius has improved his numbers from last season -23 goals and 21 assists in 53 games-, but Karim Benzema’s drop in performance has hurt Real Madrid in the League, and on the decisive days in the Champions League.

The Frenchman has been absent for 16 games due to different muscular problems, including breaks when he has games every three days. And without plan B of ‘9’ on the bench. With his absence, Benzema has signed 29 goals in 40 games; and the previous season, the one that earned him the Ballon d’Or, he closed it with 44 goals in 46 games.

A drop in performance that has been especially noticeable in the Champions League. From 15 goals in 12 games to four in ten. He did not score in the four group stage matches he played, he closed his participation goalless against Manchester City and, above all, with the feeling of being late for everything.

In 180 minutes he only completed one dribble, shot twice on goal and won two duels. After the 4-0, he was one of those pointed out, along with the rest of the ‘old guard’. Kroos and Modric were substituted before the 70th minute. Overwhelmed by the passing and recovery pace of a Manchester City side that made two of the best midfielders in history look mundane. Already with 33 and 37 years, respectively.

With Tchouaméni far from the level he gave before the World Cup, Ancelotti opted, as he had done since the second leg of the Copa del Rey at the Camp Nou (0-4) for Kroos as a pivot. An idea that made water with a Fede Valverde far from his great physical level.

Meanwhile, Eduardo Camavinga was lost on a left side where he did not know where Bernardo Silva was; undetectable due to his freedom of movement.

Without the ball or strength in the center of the field and without resources in attack, Real Madrid made water against Manchester City in a win that made clear the needs in terms of reinforcements for a squad that closes the season with three titles, although with the debt of the great distance in the League with Barcelona and an abrupt goodbye in ‘Champions’.


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