Jorge Valdano has discussed the crisis at former club Real Madrid, whose defeat to Levante was their fourth loss in their last five matches.
Former Real Madrid player, coach and sporting director Jorge Valdano has discussed the current malaise at the club, telling the Spanish radio station Onda Cero that some of Los Blancos' key figures are suffering from a World Cup hangover - and that the European champions underestimated the impact of selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus in the summer.
Lack of goalscorer not Lopetegui's fault, says Valdano
"[Raphael] Varane and [Luka] Modric's exertions at the World Cup look to be taking a mental toll," he told the programme 'El Transistor' after Real's weekend defeat to Levante condemned them to their fourth loss in five games, adding that the team's chief issue is its lack of killer instinct in front of goal this season.
Given that the club have not adequately replaced Ronaldo, who hit 450 goals in nine years at the Bernabéu, that cannot be blamed on under-fire boss Julen Lopetegui, Valdano reasoned. "Putting the ball in the back of the net is the hardest part of the game," he said. "The number-one problem Real have is goals, because they lack a specialist and that's not something that the coach can solve."
"At Barcelona, they're terrified about Messi being out..."
And as he looked ahead to next Sunday's Clásico - the first since December 2007 without Ronaldo or the injured Lionel Messi - Valdano noted a difference in Real and Barça's attitudes to losing the services of their star men. "At Barcelona, they're terrified about Messi being out, while at Real Madrid they took the departure of Cristiano a little bit lightly," he declared.