“Here lies the team that made history… A humiliating end to an unrepeatable era.” – Marca.
Alexa play Adele- Someone Like You
Who would have thought Cristiano Ronaldo was the glue that held Real Madrid together? Well, everyone with eyes I guess. The downfall of Europe’s most elite; sad to say the least! Occupying the majority of the spaces in the UEFA’s team of the year, the boys at the Bernabeu have yet to find balance without their leader of old, their GOAT Cristiano Ronaldo. Mo Salah fell so Real Madrid could crumble.
After facing humiliation upon his sacking as Head Coach of Spain right before the World Cup, Julen Lopetegui went on to fulfill his duties as Real Madrid’s new manager. Lopetegui had much to prove being the new head coach of such a formidable club. We had seen Zidane enter the club and dominate Europe, so the expectation was sky high. Having to fill the boots of Zidane, the task was near impossible… well not really. Having inherited the same team that had won back to back European titles the only challenge Lopetegui would come to face is winning without Ronaldo.
Though the team seemed full of quality, the man that had been Madrid’s top scorer for near a decade had moved on. Who was to fill that void? Benzema? Asensio ? BALE? *Insert Soulja Boy meme*. The three expected to fill the void have netted a total of 44 goals between them this season. The same amount scored by one Cristiano Ronaldo last season.
Starting his season in a Super Cup derby that of recent history has been full of surprises, Lopetegui received his first beating. A 4-2 loss at A. Le Coq Arena raised the first eyebrow for the new boss. After winning 5/6, drawing once, Julien had silenced the critics. Consecutive goals from Gareth Bale and goals from Benzema, Isco and Asensio had proven Madrid’s ability without Ronaldo… for about 6 weeks. September 26th saw their first league defeat away to Sevilla; and what a defeat it was. 3-0. “We have to pick ourselves up”- Lopetugui. These words were followed by a draw at home to Athletico and 3 back to back defeats. Ouch ! Having struggled against Vikotia Piazen in their Champions League tie, they managed to pick themselves up with a 2-1 win; however they were knocked all the way back down later that week at the Nou Camp. A Coutinho goal, Suarez hatrick and a late goal from Vidal confirmed Lopetegui’s exit. A 5 goal defeat in an El classico? Back to the Kitchen Julen !
Santiago Solari, appointed as caretaker manager. It was clear that the former youth coach was to take Real Madrid back to winning ways whilst Perez and Co searched for an actual replacement. Having won 4 matches back to back, Madrid looked back to normal and the board had no reason to dismiss the caretaker from his duties. Four matches, 15 goals, Benzema and Bale back to scoring ways? Give him the job why don’t you ! That’s exactly what the board did. November 13th, it was announced that the former Argentinian International was to permanently act as Real Madrid’s head coach with a contract lasting till 2021. Premature to say the least considering they then went on to lose 3-0 away to Eibar in their next match.
Having lost his first game as the official manager, Solari had much to make up for. He went on to win 4 more matches against Roma, Valencia, Melilla and SD Huesca; CSKA Moscow was his next challenge. Losing 3-0 to the Russians at home was a taste of Solari’s naivety. Though Madrid had already qualified in their group, he had put out an inexperienced team at home for the fans to watch them get battered. 2 goals in the first half had assured victory for CSKA Moscow who were by far the better side.
Again 4 matches later, Real Madrid faced yet another defeat at home ! By this time, Real were short of options going upfront. With Bale and Asensio out from injury and Isco’s talent being wasted on the bench, the Los Blanco’s were looking rather well, blank. Filled with colour again, the European giants went on to win 11/13 of their following matches. Necessary points, to firmly secure their top 4 position and build their confidence for Barcelona to knock it back down. That’s right. Barcelona, yet again victorious in the 3rd El Classico of the season.
Hannibal Lecter just loves to score against Real Madrid doesn’t he? A brace from Luis Suarez and an own goal from Varane, left Madrid demoralised and knocked out of the Copa Del Rey semi final at the hands of their enemy. Due to play them again at home just 3 days later, you’d think Solari would have devised a master plan to avoid another home defeat. Nope. Instead, the Ballon D’or winner had to look the worthy King of football in his face whilst he celebrated for victory. 26th minute goal from Rakitic granted another L for Real Madrid on their sacred home ground. Not so scared anymore, conceding 8 goals in 3 matches… on that same ground ? Oh the Jezebel !
Yesterday night, Madrid showed their ass. Alongside Millions of Real Madrid fans, I myself could not believe the scenes. Gifting Ajax a place in the Champions League quarter finals after being 2-1 up in the first leg at Amsterdam; how much cannabis did they smoke ! Just kidding. But honestly, shambolic scenes. A lack of direction from the Ballon D’r winner, lack of composure from those around him. Lack of end product coupled with seemless chances. Ajax capitalised and ended the night on a high. Man of the match performances from Schone and De Jong, soon to be Barcelona’s newest prodigy. A 4-1 win away to the Bernabeu, you wouldn’t believe it if you hadn’t seen it.
The season for Madrid is now over. “An electric sign of Armageddon,” – Diego Torres. Time to regroup and reorganize. Nothing to play for but their pride now. So what is the issue at Madrid? Where has it all gone wrong? There’s only one explanation. They let the GOAT go and forgot to find a replacement in summer. Blame the manager, blame the board, but do not forget to blame the group of “World Class” players. No wonder Zidane left. He saw it coming !
Soundcloud – Goal Diggers Podcast