Real Madrid entered Sunday´s game vs. rivals Atlético de Madrid with a perfect season, with 5 wins in 5 matches in La Liga. They even won their first Champions League game last Wednesday. They were looking like a solid team with new addition Jude Bellingham leading the team. What happened?
Real Madrid started the game with a 4-1-2-1-2 or 4-5-1 against a very counter, well-defensive Atlético. After just 4 minutes, a header from Álvaro Morata opened the score. Another goal, this time from Griezmann, again from the right side widened the scoreline. Fair to say that Lucas Vasquez (who was playing for injured Carvajal) was not having his best night.Embed from Getty Images
Álvaro Morata sealed the game with another header just 1 minute into the second half. None of Real Madrid´s substitutions could provide a revulsive effect. Brahim ended up being the only player who managed to create some danger in the few minutes played.
Diego Simeone won the tactical game and Atlético de Madrid players proved to want it more. Huge props to the fans, who were incredibly loud and supportive all around. Also, worth mentioning, Sunday´s game broke the Civitas Metropolitano´s attendance record with 69.082 fans.
Yes, it´s still early in the season and crucial players like Vinicius, Militao, Carvajal and Courtois are injured. Nevertheless, those excuses shouldn´t be valid for a team like Real Madrid. This was the first game Real Madrid played against a tough opponent and they were outperformed, outmatched and outscored.Embed from Getty Images
Neither the players nor the management team are to blame. Carlo Ancelotti is doing a great job (finally) rotating the squad. The players are doing their best to adapt to the new formations. For example, Camavinga is being used as a utility. Lucas Vasquez has embraced his new role as right back. Bellingham is all around the pitch and Rodrygo is playing as a number 9.
I believe the front office has a huge responsibility in this planning of the team. Whether it´s because of the stadium renovation, the pandemic, or waiting for Mbappe, this has affected the depth and structure of the squad. Yes, Bellingham came in this year following a 100 million transfer fee, but still, Real Madrid needs to up their squad. Brahim is another great addition, but after the void Benzema left as number 9, why didn´t they push for a world-class striker?
The Front Office has been waiting for Mbappe for years now, is he coming next year? At this point, no one can be sure. Real Madrid is a world-class club and they don´t wait for anyone, if they call, it´s either yes or no. I believe the Front Office is responsible for the lack of preparation and passiveness in the transfer market.
Another example of this is the replacement for Eder Militao. He got injured in the first game of the season, while the transfer market was still open. At the time, Sergio Ramos was available as a free agent; wouldn´t that´ve been amazing? A “last dance” for Real Madrid´s captain and one of its favorite players? Sure, they have strong center backs like Rudiger, Alaba and the versatile Nacho, but come on, Ramos would´ve been something special.Embed from Getty Images
I do believe it´s way too early in the season and expect Real Madrid to compete until the very end (as their slogan says), but I believe their limited squad depth and their lack of revulsive players will be a huge factor in their chances in La Liga race.
The Champions League is another story, we all know what they can do and they can never be considered not favourites. It won´t be a surprise if we see them reaching the semi-finals or further.
The farm system can be of great help, Real Madrid could benefit from it and give the first team a break. Real Madrid is known to produce great talents from their “Cantera” even though they tend to be sellers. I think it´s worth a shot to call up some players and give them first-team action. Prove the world that maybe great talents come from within.