The Hazard-Benzema tandem offers promise
Let's be honest, Red Bull Salzburg are no great shakes despite having previously played in the Champions League. With the Austrian domestic campaign underway, the home side were noticeably more match-fit than Real Madrid who have still two weeks to go before their 2019-20 LaLiga opener away to Celta Vigo. Still, a 0-1 result away from home is a decent result in a game which Zidane opted for a 3-5-2 formation with Militao, Varane and Sergio Ramos manning the rear-guard with Isco, Casemiro and Kroos holding the middle, complimented with Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard in attack.
Finally we got to see some of the promise that Eden Hazard has to offer with an accomplished performance from the Belgian capped off with the only goal on the night. The move started with Courtois quickly feeding Benzema who in turn found the former Chelsea man. Both players seem to be working on the same wavelength and the promise offered by the duo is encouraging. Real Madrid offered an improved performance from earlier pre-season outings and managed to keep a clean sheet. Casemiro was majestic in the centre, snuffing out the pacy attacks offered by the Austrian side and when he was substituted, the team underwent a change for the worse.
Both Bale and James remained in Madrid, a clear message from Zidane that the pair have no place in his thoughts for the forthcoming season with a sale of one or even both players the preferable option. Bale has clearly crossed swords with the French coach but I'm surprised with the treatment administered to the Colombian midfielder. James' future could be easily resolved with Real Madrid accepting Atlético's 50 million euro bid for his services but Florentino seems reluctant to bolster both a direct rival in the LaLiga race let alone fierce cross town rivals. As time ticks down, it appears that Pogba won't arrive at the Bernabéu, the squad needs to be trimmed and there is a bottle-neck of non EU players. At least we some magic last night from Hazard. Nothing to get that over excited about but at least a sign of what we can expect from the Belgian.
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