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Six keys to Real's disaster season: tours, doctors, Florentino, James...

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1. A poor preseason

Many of the Madrid players have complained about their summer preparations, "We did more flying than training" as Modric put it, los blancos were in Australia and China, among other places, the players travelled more than 45,000 kms. Cristiano also compla

Doctor Olmo

Real Madrid have had 21 injuries this season at the time of writing, many of those relapses, Pepe and Bale the obvious examples. The players are not happy with "doctor stretch" as they call him, Sergio Ramos particularly vocal about the faltering practice

3. Failed managerial decision: Ancelotti for Benítez

Florentino said adiós to Ancelotti, the man who brought the Décima back to the Bernabéu, and who was liked and respected by all the players. The changing-room heavyweights including Cristiano and Ramos were public about their desire to see him continue, b

Foto:Reuters / Sergio PerezREUTERS

4. No Director of Sport = a mismatched collection of playmakers

Real Madrid has no plan. That's obvious from the signings at the club which are led by Florentino inspired impulse-buys rather than any grand design. The squad is unbalanced, top heavy with creative players who want to play in the hole and few defensively


5. James from Ballon d'Or to barn door

A curious case, and a very significant one too. James cost €80M, was an essential part of the team last season, but has disappeared completely this season. It's like he's dragging himself around the pitch, yesterday the fans booed him roundly after he gav


6. The heavyweights who weigh heavily on this season

Sergio Ramos has dropped his standards this season, perhaps at the start of the season due to that shoulder injury, but his dominance on the pitch has waned and he's scored only one goal so far this season, contributing much more in previous campaigns. Cr