Real Madrid: PSG loss an ordeal for youngsters, old heads alike
Whether experienced performers or future prospects, Zinedine Zidane's men endured a night to forget in Wednesday's Champions League defeat to PSG.
In Real Madrid's comprehensive, 3-0 defeat at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night, Los Blancos looked lost from back to front. Unlike Paris Saint-Germain, who performed superbly across the board, Zinedine Zidane's blend of youth and experience utterly failed to produce the goods, as Madrid's Champions League campaign got off to the worst start possible.
Experience: Courtois, Carvajal, Kroos, Benzema...
Madrid's defence was less than watertight, it's fair to say - starting with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has been given the gloves once and for all in the wake of Keylor Navas' move to PSG, but has thus far not justified his number-one status. The Belgian has now conceded nine times in his five games this term, and should really have done more to prevent PSG's first two goals. Ángel di María beat him too easily at his near post for the opener, before benefiting from a sluggish reaction from the keeper to find the corner with a shot from the edge of the box.
In Courtois' defence, he got little to no help from Raphael Varane - who was found particularly wanting for PSG's first and third goals - or Dani Carvajal, who was also at fault for the opener, and was missing in action when the hosts rounded off the scoring. The right-back is currently enduring his worst patch of form since being brought back to the Bernabéu from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013.
In midfield, Toni Kroos has actually made a decent start to the campaign, but on Wednesday was unable to take responsibility for dictating the play. Striker Karim Benzema has likewise begun the campaign in good nick, but was once more guilty of failing to deliver in a crucial game. It is a shortcoming that detracted from his otherwise commendable 2018/19: he scored just three in nine between February and March, a period in which Madrid's season disintegrated. Like the rest of the team, he did not once force Navas into action in Paris.
Youth: Militao, Jovic, Vinicius...
Of the youngsters called upon to play their part in bringing success in both the future and the here and now, it was defender Éder Militao, 21, who most disappointed. The summer signing must share his portion of the blame for all three of PSG's strikes: Di María stole a march on him for the first, he was too slow to close the Argentine down for the second, and - with not much of a helping hand forthcoming from his team-mates, admittedly - he was, together with Varane, turned inside out by Thomas Meunier and Juan Bernat.
In the second half, Luka Jovic, 21, and Vinicius, 19, were given their opportunity - if, indeed, that is how you can describe the scenario in which they were introduced, with Real Madrid 2-0 down and being torn apart by Thomas Tuchel's side. Jovic got 20 minutes, Vinicius just 12. Neither was able to contribute anything at all, unsurprisingly... although making something of such a thankless task can also be the turning point in a career.
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