Five reasons why Real Madrid STILL believe in 'La Undécima'
After victory in El Clásico, and an impressive comeback in the Champions League, Zidane's side are convinced they can go all the way to an eleventh title.
Following El Clásico we posted five reasons why Real Madrid should believe that they can increase their record number of European Cups to eleven this season. Since then, the club has qualified for the semi-finals - after a first leg scare against Wolfsburg - and we thought it was worth reviewing the case...
'San Keylor' between the sticks
The players are hell-bent on ending the season with the club's eleventh European crown in its trophy cabinet - and their motives for believing they can achieve that aim start in goal. Keeper Keylor Navas is racking up the stellar displays this term, and showed in the Camp Nou and subsequent games (including that loss in Germany) that he is a reliable man to have between the sticks.
The 'BBC' are turning it on
Real Madrid's attacking trio are in fine fettle - and confirmed the excellent nick they're in by outshining Barça's fearsome threesome of Messi, Suárez and Neymar in the Clásico. Between them, Bale, Benzema and Cristiano have now amassed 86 goals this season...including the CR7 hat-trick in the incredible Wolfsburg comeback.
Casemiro: Real's midfield rock
Since being brought into the side by Zinedine Zidane, the 24-year-old Brazilian has become a midfield fixture for the Frenchman. Providing balance, solidity and ball-winning ability in the middle of the park, he frees Luka Modric and Toni Kroos up to create. Not fancied by other managers so much he is now thriving in a regular central spot and the Bernabeu crowd that had once been rather against him are now regularly applauding the contributions he makes.
A squad brimming with confidence
There is no escaping the morale-boosting consquences of coming away victorious from the Ciudad Condal and ending Barcelona's 39-game unbeaten run in the process. Then to get over the poor performance in Wolfsburg with comprehensive victories against Eibar and then the Germans, Los Blancos not only approach the business end of the campaign full of confidence, but in strong physical shape too.
The Zizou effect
With Zidane winning the tactical battle over Luis Enrique, El Clásico saw him come of age as a coach. The squad believes in his message and he's shown he's not afraid to make big calls, leaving the likes of Isco and James on the bench and placing his faith in players such as Casemiro and Lucas Vázquez, who fully merit their game time. Using Eibar to rest some of his key players for Europe and introducing academy prospects alongside his fringe stars, he is starting to get the best out of those who may come to play a bit part in the run in.
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