Why did Danilo start against Betis? The first assumption is that Zidane wanted to give him his share of playing time, make him feel that counts on him, and that while Carvajal played in his first two games in charge, he’s still in the frame. It’s understandable. The problem was that he had a poor game, an exceptionally poor one. Rubén Castro left him for dead in the move which resulted in the opening goal and all of his crosses went astray, as usual. When Carvajal came on, the contrast was remarkable. With Carvajal, it even spurred James, who did much better during the few minutes they were together on the pitch. Madrid managed to level – and didn’t do so earlier because of Adán, but they had already lost an hour while Danilo was on the pitch.
The problem is that on the very same day, am in-depth article had appeared in ‘The Daily Mail’detailed the pressures that Florentino had put Benítez under. It was a piece which unmasks how Real Madrid functions. It’s almost a kind of Pulcinella–style secret – one which practically every fan knows about or have their suspicions, but this was a very articulate piece, written with great sincerity. The order is given to field the side comprising ‘the best players’– exactly the same XI which Benítez, had available and had to field against Barça and which Madrid lost 0-4. And he chose Danilo: “Danilo is the best full-back, and only the best play at Real Madrid.”Danilo cost 38 million euros.
Between James, an extravagant signing and Jesé, Zidane opted for the former, to the detriment of the youth team graduate. You can understand it: James is a top class player who needs to be back playing regularly. Between Danilo, a capricious and expensive signing, and youth team product Carvajal, Zidane selected the former and that is not so easy to understand, apart from when you look at it from the perspective of the ‘Daily Mail’ article. Madrid performed much better towards the end of the Betis game, with Jesé on for James and above all, with Carvajalreplacing Danilo. And immeditately afterwards, it all got a bit messy: we were told that Carvajal had a bit of a cold, which the coach denied. Butragueño wanted to justify the unjustifiable,Zidane meanwhile decided to accept it.