Another match day, another ordinary performance. Not what you would usually associate with Real Madrid. The club is anything but ordinary…or least they’re supposed to be. It’s mind-blowing when you realize that Ronaldo papered a lot of cracks in that team in his last 2 seasons. It gets worse when you realize that Lopetegui and Solari were so bad at hiding that fact. Finally, it hits rock-bottom when it dawns on you that Zidane chose to return despite all I just said.
A loss to a team of Rayo’s standing is starting to feel normal nowadays. Rayo Vallecano is a club that could still be relegated this season. But, on Sunday, they played like a team chasing European qualification and Real Madrid played like a team battling relegation. There was no verve, no drive, and definitely no sign to show that the team is capable to putting on a better performance next time.
Now I understand why they need an overhaul in the summer. That team is a mid-table side. There’s no way they’ll be capable of winning any trophy, let alone the La Liga title. They can’t even finish in 2nd place…and I think they’re only in 3rd place because the La Liga is split into 2 (Top 3 and the rest).
A surface analysis of the squad will have you shaking your head a few times. First of all, the goalkeeping situation has been poorly handled over the last 4 years. Every transfer window, Keylor Navas is being forced out for De Gea to come in. In fact, that was actually close to happening in 2015 when Man United decided against it at the last minute. I have never seen a club so open about its intentions to offload a good player for no reason. Maybe it’s because he isn’t Spanish and a Madrid guy like Casillas and (erm) De Gea. Or maybe he isn’t as attractive on a billboard. Maybe it’s because he was brought in to be a number 2 but dared to challenge and earn the No 1 spot. It doesn’t matter. He’s been part of 3 Champions’ League triumphs. Courtois should have been given more time to settle and fight for his chance. Tossing Navas aside every time Real Madrid have a new crush has only cost them.
Age is catching up with the likes of Ramos and Marcelo in the defense. The back-four has stayed without a backup for too long. Once it became obvious that Ramos and Marcelo were veterans, Real moved to promote youths like Odriozola and Reguilon. It could work in the long-term…but Real Madrid are not a long-term team. Star power has to be present every year and without it, you’re looking at an ordinary team.
Modric may be the reigning Ballon D’or winner but even he would admit that he can’t do much for that midfield. Imagine having to conjure magic with the likes of Ceballos and Llorente. Even Kroos and Isco have regressed…badly. If Real Madrid want to get ruthless, start from that gadfozaken midfield.
If there ever was a time to sell Gareth Bale, it is this summer. He’s no longer star material but he will attract a huge transfer fee that can be re-invested in the squad. Benzema cannot be the only number 9 in the team. To be honest, Real Madrid had no business selling Morata the last time. For the 2nd time, he helps a team to be better than they are. They never learn. The likes of Mariano, Asensio and Vinicius will need exceptional coaching to reach the heights expected of them. Can Zidane give them that? Not sure.
A big summer awaits Real Madrid and Zidane. He needs another big name to galvanize the squad. It doesn’t have to be another Ronaldo but someone with the ability and mentality to inspire his troops. Unfortunately, that is not all he needs. Players have to leave for much to be accomplished. It’s a process that will take time to work. Till then, he has to work with these ordinary players.