They weren’t even playing in yellow…
This Friday I was lucky enough to meet José and his daughter Maria in a small town near Valencia called Picanya. They moved me with their love and passion for Real Madrid, for their madridismo. They’re tightly bound by that purest of feelings. That’s why they decided to tattoo a set of coordinates on their arms: 40º 27’ 11.02” N 3º 41’18.06” W. I bet you can guess what they are. They’re the exact coordinates of the centre circle at the Santiago Bernabeú.
This wasn’t the plan
It’s because of people capable of doing something like that that Sunday’s frustrating, dull and uninspired performance against Eibar was unacceptable. That father and daughter, like thousands of other fans who made the most of the sunny weather to go to the football, didn’t deserve a punishment like that. Four draws in a row, three of them in the league – just three points from fixtures against Villarreal, Las Palmas and Eibar! The makeshift, irresponsible excuse about yellow doesn’t work this time. Eibar were playing in red and blue, to make things even worse. I applaud them for their excellent performance. Committed, hard-working, well-organised at the back and dangerous going forward, they were spearheaded by the talent of a former Real Madrid man, Pedro León. This wasn’t the plan and Zidane has reason to be worried. It was only two weeks ago that we were on the verge of breaking the record for the greatest winning run in LaLiga history.
Injuries are no excuse
It’s no excuse, but it’s not normal for the treatment room to have suddenly been filled with players who looked fine not long ago. First it was Casemiro – since his injury we haven’t beaten anyone – and then came Modric, who had surgery this weekend. Wave goodbye to creativity in midfield. Even James went down in the pre-match warm-up; we missed his crosses into the box. With key players missing, and Benzema looking just as absent, it would be easy to attribute the poor result to injuries. But, I repeat, that isn’t an excuse. Isco is a fantastic player but he ended up being booed by the fans who just want to worship him. Varane lacked intensity to the extent that he looked as if he were on the training ground. Keylor lacks match practice and it showed as he conceded early. And Lucas Vázquez, the team’s best injection of energy, inexplicably hasn’t played a minute of football in the last two games. Injuries should be a motivation, something that pushes a team to outperform itself, not a justification for poor performances.
Let’s not talk of a crisis
I won’t talk of a crisis. Real Madrid are still unbeaten this season and that would be an overreaction. We should be sad, but not lose faith. Thank you, Celta. And thank you, ter Stegen. You’re an absolute hero.
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