REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: the 9 is a problem

Benzema is struggling to find form, Jovic is out of favour and Mariano has yet to feature for Real Madrid this season. Against Borussia Mönchengladbach, Zidane turned to Ramos, Varane and Casemiro for a late goal.

Zinedine Zidane has three number nines, however he does not want two of them and the one he does want is having a hard time in front of goal. Vinicius continues to score more than Benzema, despite the recent comments made by the Frenchman. Benzema has just two goals to his name this season; the first, against Levante (0-2) in the 95th minute when the Granotas played poorly and the other came against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Champions League.

Benzema is not in his richest vein of form in a Real Madrid shirt and Zidane isn't considering a natural alternative. In Germany, he preferred to launch the defensive towers Ramos, Varane and Casemiro into attack, rather than send Luka Jovic on. Mariano Díaz has not been considered at all so far in the 2020-21 campaign and that is not expected to change. A failed loan move to Benfica in the summer means he'll be spending the next few months in the Spanish capital.

Out of favour Jovic

The case of the Serbian striker is more blatant. In fifteen months, his market value has gone from €60m to €25m on Transfermarkt. Zidane doesn't consider him as a game-changer, sending Ramos, Casemiro and Varane upfront in Germany during the week. In September's 0-0 draw away to current LaLiga leaders Real Sociedad, the French coach gave debuts to Marvin Park and Sergio Arribas, leaving Jovic on the bench when Madrid were in dire need of a goal.

At Borussia Park on Tuesday night, Ramos signalled to the bench that he was going to stay up top, as Madrid looked for a vital point in Group B of the Champions League, a competition Madrid are expected to compete in year in year out. "I'm staying up," Ramos said. And he was not the only one. Casemiro went forward too, eventually getting the all important equaliser, slamming home from close range right at the death. Ramos' centre-back partner, Varane, also threw himself forward in the dying minutes while Jovic watched the almost miraculous comeback from a cold bench in Mönchengladbach.

Mayoral claims

Borja Mayoral joined AS Roma on a two-year loan deal in September. Upon arrival in the Italian capital, he revealed that Zidane preferred him to Jovic. “When I arrived back at Madrid for the preseason, I was going to leave the club quickly, but Zidane wanted me to stay. I think the club listened to Zidane and that's why they wanted to let [Luka] Jovic go.”

Hugo Duro, tras marcarle un gol al Getafe B la última jornada con el Castilla.

Zidane may argue that he has given the former Eintracht Frankfurt striker opportunities. Starts against Real Betis and Shakhtar Donestsk were handed to the 23-year-old, who failed to make an impact. Over the 72 minutes against Betis, he barely touched the ball 14 times and gave 10 passes, four of which went astray. The Champions League fixture at home to Shakhtar was even quieter for Jovic.

Although Zidane says that Benzema and Jovic can play together, as they did away to Betis, his selected starting elevens so far this season show that Jovic with Benzema hardly convinces him. Benzema is also struggling to manage on his own. His only league goal was before the final whistle against Levante. Last year, at this stage of the league campaign, Benzema had five goals. His two goals this season only account for 15 percent of the entire team. Last year, they stood for 28 percent of the teams goals.

Castilla's Hugo Duro

Zidane included the Real Madrid Castilla striker Hugo Duro in his A list for the Champions League and the young striker on loan from Getafe is crying out for chance in the first team. He has senior experience, despite being only 20 and has played in the top-flight and Europa League with Getafe, in addition to being a Spain Under-21 international. This season, he has scored a goal per game played, two weeks ago on his Castilla debut in Las Rozas and he followed it up with a strike against Getafe B. Duro, an engineering student, could be the man to add some much-needed sharpness to Madrid's attack.