There are times of the season when you win premium over the game. Right there is a Real Madrid still stunned after the ‘slap in the face’ of the Clásico, which brought out the Balaídos match with more skill than play, supported by two saviors in key positions of the team, the goalkeeper and the center forward, with Thibaut Courtois and Karim Benzema struggling to be the key player in a LaLiga Santander that is dyed white.
The triumph was obligatory and Balaídos a propitious terrain to do it in recent history. If you defeat in your last seven league visits, with six wins and one draw. Real Madrid did not fail in terms of result but sowed doubts in the game and the state of several of its players. Stoppages due to national team matches always affect and this time it did so especially with those who crossed the pond.
The UEFA Champions League is a special competition for Real Madrid, capable of activating a switch and bringing out the version of the king of Europe, the winner of thirteen ‘orejonas’ and a potential that can take anyone ahead. It happened to PSG as the last victim, when he felt the round of 16 tie in his pocket with an exhibition by Kylian Mbappé that came to nothing before the Madrid outburst.
⚡ 𝑲𝑨𝑹𝑰𝑴 ⚡ pic.twitter.com/2acZWEOB9U
– Real Madrid CF (@realmadrid) April 3, 2022
But the reality of a team that leads comfortably in a League that has long felt more than on track, he does not hide tactical aspects to improve if he wants to go further than being among the best eight in Europe. The resignation of the low block after what happened in the Parc des Princes when he did not even shoot at the rival goal, gave way to an attempt to advance lines that would promote advanced pressure that has come to nothing.
In Vigo, Real Madrid was pure vagueness. Messy pressure when she tried. An overwhelmed midfield that cried out for reinforcements without Carlo Ancelotti, from his home due to coronavirus, increasing a piece in the midfield to play with four or putting in the physical power that grows with the presence of Fede Valverde, affected by the length trip and few hours of sleep, nor Eduardo Camavinga.
The Real Madrid thermometer is usually personified in Casemiro. When the Brazilian is seen to suffer, to arrive late to cover, to be easily overtaken by his rivals, the suffering spreads to the entire team. That’s how it was against a Celta that insistently sought a prize that only avoided the great interventions of Thibaut Courtois. Another day at the office with four stops, three of which give points. “It is the best in the worldreaches where others do not. It’s incredible how he saved the free kick,” Celta captain Iago Aspas said resignedly.
The ‘Benzema moment’
Real Madrid is one with the French striker and another in his absence. He is the reference footballer of a team that loses punch without him. To one of his favorite victims, a Celta for whom he has scored eleven goals, seven of them in his last three clashes, he once again demonstrated leadership. He had missed the second penalty that he had at a key moment. After being tied by Celta, in moments of doubt. The appearance of Rodrygo’s speed caused the second maximum penalty and Dituro guessed his intentions.
Another player would have relinquished responsibility for the third penalty, Benzema not. He assumed the full weight of a new maximum penalty with the conviction that he would not fail again. He fitted it to the post and delivered a key win en route to the title. A message to Barcelona and Seville. One less date on the calendar in a stadium where it was a must to win knowing that you still have to visit the Sánchez Pizjuan or the Metropolitan.
Benzema, like Cristiano Ronaldo a few years ago and Raúl González before him, is starting to make headlines for breaking goalscoring records. The mutation of that 9 on the number that built more play and assists for his teammates than goals for him, has become a devastating striker. The numbers show him. At the age of 34, he signs the best materializing season of his career. Never before has he scored 34 goals and he still has eight league games ahead of him to widen his record and, at the very least, the quarterfinals of the ‘Champions’.
After equaling Alfredo di Stéfano as Madrid’s third top scorer in LaLiga history (216 goals). Hunting down Raúl (228) is one of the French’s challenges. Another, reaching 40 goals in a season, something that only Cristiano Ronaldo achieved. His goals are divided between 24 League goals, seven in the Champions League and two in a Spanish Super Cup that was the first title of the course for Ancelotti’s team. The Italian has no substitute for Karim and crosses his fingers so that the muscle injury he has just overcome is the last of the course.
Courtois’ warning to Real Madrid
“We have to give more because we lack intensity sometimes. There we can’t fail in that, then we have football”. a template saved by the “stops” that the Belgian goalkeeper claims every time he attends a microphone must find reasons for his reflection.
A justified self-recognition that, you know, sometimes does not work against a major rival in the Champions League. After passing the tough exam at PSG, Real Madrid is awaiting the reigning European champion and a date on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, in which you must recover your true potential to obtain a good result.
His last two outings in European qualifiers were defeated. The 2-0 that closed the elimination in the last semifinals against Chelsea and a 1-0 against PSG, where he defended himself until giving in on the last play of the match against Mbappé’s push, which was a turning point. London will mark the path of Real Madrid’s season.