It was not long ago that the bbC trident of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo was Real Madrid's shortcut to victory. That era had come to an end, but there are now signs that it may be flickering back to life.
PSG a watershed for the bbC
Bale was named as a substitute in the Champions League last-16 clash against PSG - the biggest match of the season for Zidane's side. That selection represented a sharp change in approach from Zidane, who had previously viewed the bbC as a non-negotiable part of the Madrid team.
Yet in the LaLiga match against Alavés - which Madrid won 4-0 - the trio rolled back the months in a devastating performance together. Benzema assisted Ronaldo for the first goal with a smart backheel and set up Bale for the second. Ronaldo scored Madrid's third and his second, before Benzema rounded off the goal-fest from the penalty spot.
Zidane's formation the basis for victory
The bbC rediscovered what they once were, above all, due to the system: the 4-4-2. The tactical set-up provided balance. They had freedom in attack, and the formation papered over their defensive negligence.
Using that foundation, they combined and they enjoyed themselves. Ronaldo continued his sensational form in 2018, and sheltered Benzema from the whistles of the Bernabéu crowd. The French striker responded with a fine performance. Bale completed 90 minutes for the first time since September 20th.
Two LaLiga matches stand between Real Madrid and the second leg of their Champions League tie in Paris. If the bbC continue the form they showed against Alavés, they will once again occupy non-negotiable status in Zidane's starting XI.