It seems that there was a practice session at the Bernabeu where Barcelona were the trainers and Madrid simply had to watch. At the biggest stage of world soccer, Madrid were trumped by their arch-rivals from Catalonia. Even the absence of Lionel Messi could not give a moral advantage to Real Madrid, and they just looked like a mid-table team displaying another poor performance for the third straight game. Let’s have a look at five things we learned from Real Madrid vs. Barcelona.
- Rafa Benitez needs to find a fluid and fast midfield pattern.
Modric and Kroos synergy wasn’t the only missing link, but Gareth Bale also failed to impress at the Number 10 position. As the game slipped out of their control, the cruise commanders started to rely on the individual brilliance that only pushed them deeper in trouble. Gareth Bale did show flashes of brilliance after he moved wide later in the game. Rafa Benitez needs to re-define his position if they are ever going to pose a serious threat to the opposition in matches like this.
- Benitez needs to pull his socks up.
The critics who placed their money at his appointment can finally collect. One would argue that such things happened to Jose Mourinho as well but never at the Bernabeu. It is quite evident from match proceeding that confidence level of Real Madrid players was below the acceptable level, they even played mere spectators for initial forty minutes of the game. There is no doubt that it will be hard for Madrid as a team to recover from such a shock defeat, but it may also mark the beginning of the end of the coach.
- There is dressing room unrest.
Today we saw the re-incarnation of Mourinho days when players didn’t bring the fight to the pitch. It may have been rumors days ago, but their body language almost confirmed that all is not well in the dressing room. No offence, but it never looked like that Madrid boys are out there for some serious business.
Kroos thinned into the match, appearing once or twice in fifteen minutes to take a set piece (corners mostly). Marcelo failed to impose himself on the game while Ronaldo blew hot and cold as the match commenced. When great players start relying on and start preferring their individual brilliance over the team cause, only beautiful game of football suffers.
Not only the players but Rafa also failed to make his tactics work as the game progressed. This rough sketch is all we need to connect the dots.
- Carvajal should take his place back in the squad.
Danilo had one of if not his worst night as a professional. He was out-paced, out-smarted and clumsy for the most part of the game. Maybe am being too hard on the lad but in all sincerity, Carvajal showed more brilliance after he was brought on. Yes, now and then Neymar came knocking but Carvajal had the better answers.
- It’s never worth the risk if the players aren’t 100% match fit.
Rafa’s decision to field players who only recently returned from the sidelines may have only dug him a deeper grave. One wonders if the score line would have read the same if Casemiro, One wonders if the score line would have read the same if Casemiro, Jese Rodriguez, and Nacho had kept their positions in this match. Barcelona certainly passed this test, they had Messi but instead went for Sergi Roberto, who showed more tenacity than half of Madrid’s side.