Madrid responded to Barcelona’s latest goal-fest against Osasuna (7-1) – which condemned the Rojillos to Segunda when Leganés later beat Las Palmas at Butarque – by putting six past Deportivo in Riazor. It should be remembered that Barça lost there a few weeks ago. And Madrid did so with what has become known as the B Team, the “other” 11, or near enough. That qualifier is because of the selfless Marcelo, whose current back-up Fabio Coentrão may never be fit enough to step in occasionally. But it seems to me in any case that Marcelo doesn’t have any concerns, doesn’t suffer from fatigue, and has a complete lack of insecurity. He goes in to work, enjoys himself and he wasn’t distraught because of his moment of carelessness when faced with Sergi Roberto’s run last Sunday. He takes football as a game. He’s happy.
It is a good thing that when Madrid change so much they retain Marcelo, because this B Team has a lot of Marcelo in it. It is a refined side, quick, technical, attacking with verve and not at all arrogant. There are no big money signings or hierarchies. They play collective football and serve each other’s cause with moments of luxury from Isco and persistence from Lucas Vázquez, with pitch-length runs from Marco Asensio and Álvaro Morata’s percussion, the brilliance of James Rodríguez – who finds himself circumstantially out of the first team reckoning – and the constant running of Mateo Kovacic. This is a very good side, which could possibly win the league on its own. A team moulded in the image of Marcelo.
It is also a team with plenty of Spanish players, which served us on [Spanish radio fooball show] Carrusel to discuss the importance of national players to Real Madrid, their continuity and reliability. It is something to bear in mind, without going into too many details. But it was pleasing to see how Isco was given a huge ovation, the Depor fans saluting the midfielder of such skill that he is able to break through the animosity that fans often display towards the best players the opposition possess. And I enjoyed watching another galloping run from Asensio, whose early promise can lead us to dream of further successes for Spain: Julen Lopetegui will have enjoyed watching this Madrid B Team. It is a shame they do not play more often.