Real Madrid round-up: Isco, goals, pressure, Ramos, Asensio...
Averting a crisis is firmly on the agenda today as we round up all the latest news ahead of Los Blancos' game against Levante.
Isco to the rescue
Given that Real Madrid have now gone four games without a win and six hours and 49 minutes without a goal, the return of Isco couldn’t be more timely. The man from Málaga underwent surgery on 25 September for acute appendicitis and has rushed his return to inject some much-needed creative guile back into the Madrid attack. However, questions remain over whether he can shake off any lingering rust accumulated in his absence and live up to the hopes of many Madrid fans pinned on his shoulders. Marcelo, Bale and Benzema are also available and all make the squad to face Levante.
Real Madrid’s worst ever goal drought is only minutes away
Things could go from bad to worse on Saturday lunchtime: Los Blancos are 55 minutes away from their worst ever barren spell in front of goal. Back in 1985 they went 464 minutes without scoring and the current side, who have now gone 409 minutes without finding the net, drawing a blank against Alavés, CSKA Moscow, Atlético and Sevilla, in addition to the 49 minutes during the Espanyol match, could add to their woes if they fail to score before the hour mark.
400 up for Ramos
The Real Madrid skipper will play his 400th league game in a Madrid shirt in a long and illustrious career. Casemiro will also reach his own landmark today – the Brazilian midfielder is due to play his 100th game in a Madrid jersey.
“I’m calm and feel completely backed by the club”. Those were Lopetegui’s words in Friday’s press conference as LaLiga returns after the international break. Moreover, Madrid’s director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueño, backed up the under-fire coach’s assertions: “We have a great technical team. We trust them and we are confident that we will have a good season,” he said. Given that Madrid play before their rivals, they could actually go top with a win over Levante. However, a negative result would pile even more pressure on the Madrid coach and would test the Madrid board’s patience.
Waiting for Asensio
“I’m sure Asensio will win the Ballon d’Or”, Roma coach Di Francesco said before their Champions League defeat at the Bernabéu; such was the Spanish forward’s displays last season and the beginning of this one. However, Asensio’s performances since then have gone off the boil – in 821 minutes this season (11 games) he has only scored once. A telling stat lies in the fact that this season he needs 10 shots to score, compared with 3.1 last season. Real Madrid are still waiting for the real Asensio to turn up.
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