Real Madrid in Rome and Cristiano in Turin
Uncertainty is starting to overshadow Real Madrid. Raphaël Varane, who has been involved in six defeats and one draw in the white shirt this season has pointed to a problem with formation. Sergio Ramos, in his capacity as captain, defended the coach stating that the problem stemmed from an attitude problem among the players. Solari stated that if the back line of three fail to defend, then there was little he could do. The Argentine coach is aware that he has a free hand to select which players he wants to but is also aware that at Real Madrid there will always be pressure for him to crack the Sudoku of playing a team that delivers on the pitch and also one that meets Florentino's approval.
Ramos scandal lingering
This is panorama as Madrid travel to Rome, with the Spanish side also weighed down with the ongoing doping scandal surrounding Sergio Ramos. The case regarding the Cardiff sample seems to have been an oversight from the Real Madrid club doctor despite cyclist Simon Yates having been hit with a four month ban for testing positive for the same Dexamethasone substance. The case in Malaga surrounding the defender stems from the players own bravado insisting on showering before giving a sample with the first urine release being key for any testing process. Testing protocol forbids showering ahead of testing but Ramos maintains that citing Uefa regulations, José Luis Terreros gave him the all clear which now sets a dangerous precedent.
Despite attention briefly switching to the Champions League, Real Madrid languish sixth in LaLiga, tied with Girona on 20 points. At the same time Solari's men will be taking to the field at the Olimpico, Valencia will line up to face a Juve side with Cristiano in the ranks. The Portuguese striker struggled to find the target initially in Italy and was given his marching orders in the corresponding fixture at Mestalla. Things have changed, Juventus are streaking ahead at the Serie A summit and Valencia will face a tough challenge in Turin to keep their Champions League aspirations alive. Cristiano is still the danger man that Marcelino's men will need to watch out for, with the No. 7 still capable of causing damage with a ferocious drive or powerful header as he drives his team-mates along. Precisely the type of player that Real Madrid could do with at the moment.