Second course and dessert
Spanish television programme El Día Después caught Isco and Morata joking with a spectator last Sunday at the Estadio de la Ceramica. “I'm the second dish”, claimed Isco with a wry smile. “And I'm the dessert”, added Morata, with a ironic grin. Both players were spot on. Isco was introduced into the fray with his side trailing 0-2 and Morata was brought on for the final stages of the match and nodded home the match winner for the visitors. Both players performed admirably when called into action as do Lucas Vázquez and Nacho who find themselves in similar situations in the Madrid squad. These players train hard and do what's called of them when called to perform on the pitch only to be back on the bench for the next game, patiently waiting for their time to come or for a team-mate to pick up an injury.
Many people ask if this is a justified policy. Morata, Isco and Lucas Vázquez (with Nacho's situation not dissimilar) are ruled out due to Zidane's insistence in always playing with the "untouchable" BBC. Is it time to ask the question, just why are these three players untouchable? There is no doubt in questioning their individual ability but it's quite clear that they lack defensive qualities and on more than one occasion leave their team-mates in the midfield area exposed. The goal scoring tally of the trio has also reduced. Last season they were responsible for 69% of Real Madrid's goals and this season it's just 41%. There is no reason to have this trio of players as some sort of sacred cow when other players have made a case for a place in the starting line-up.
Focusing on just one player, Zidane's insistence in always starting with Karim Benzema is particularly blatant. The French striker is taking a place that Morata has arguably earned and if anything the case has somewhat diluted the credibility that Zidane has generated and is a decision constantly questioned by the Bernabeu faithful. There is a feeling of injustice in the treatment with both Morata and with Isco, who excel when given a chance to play. Whilst we all understand the need for a rotation policy it would be pleasing to see playing time being given out on a fairer, merit based basis.