Real Madrid are 16 points behind bitter rivals Barcelona and in crisis, so what’s happened to Zinedine Zidane’s side?

bobi
Nga bobi January 10, 2018 06:07

Real Madrid are 16 points behind bitter rivals Barcelona and in crisis, so what’s happened to Zinedine Zidane’s side?

 Real boss Zinedine Zidane knows there is all but no chance of catching Barcelona

Los Blancos are now 16 points adrift of league leaders Barcelona, so we asked our friends at Football Whispers to look at whether Real Madrid are a side in crisis.

The 2017/18 campaign was meant to be a walk in the park for Real Madrid.

They were by far the best team in Spain last season and made history by retaining the Champions League as well as winning La Liga.

Zinedine Zidane looked set to create a legacy at Madrid, just as Pep Guardiola had done at Barcelona.

 Zinedine Zidane has big problems to solve for perhaps the first time in his reign

AFP OR LICENSORS
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Zinedine Zidane has big problems to solve for perhaps the first time in his reign
 Celta Vigo star Maxi Gomez leads the celebrations after his late equaliser left Real frustrated yet again this season

AFP OR LICENSORS
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Celta Vigo star Maxi Gomez leads the celebrations after his late equaliser left Real frustrated yet again this season

Elsewhere, Barca had lost Neymar against their wishes, while Los Blancos kept hold of Cristiano Ronaldo despite the Portuguese superstar’s public flirtation with a move away from the Bernabeu.

In August, it looked like it those post-season predictions of dominance for the capital side this term would come true, with the two biggest sides in the country meeting in the Spanish Super Cup, Real Madrid winning 3-1 in the first leg at the Nou Camp despite Ronaldo being sent off.



They were head and shoulders above Barca, winning the second leg 2-0 in a dominating 5-1 victory overall.

Yet fast-forward five months, and the situation in Spain couldn’t look any more different.

With a game in hand due to their participation in the Club World Cup, Real Madrid sit 16 points off Barcelona after a disastrous start to the season.

The gap between the two was evident before Christmas when they met in the Clasico, with Barcelona running out comfortable 3-0 winners at the Bernabeu.

Their 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo on Sunday night means they’ve now won just one of their last four league games.

That means Zinedine Zidane’s side sit in fourth, just three points ahead of fifth-placed Sevilla, which has even led Madrid daily Marca to question whether they will qualify for the Champions League last season.

Last January looks a long way away now.

On January 12 2017, Madrid surpassed the Spanish record for an unbeaten streak, going 40 games without a defeat after beating Sevilla in the Copa del Rey.

Indeed, when that run came to an end with a 2-1 defeat to Sevilla in the league a week later, they had gone 284 days without losing, scoring 108 goals, keeping 15 clean sheets, with Ronaldo scoring four hat-tricks.

That loss to Sevilla was their 17th game of the season, the same number they’ve played this season, but despite losing, they still sat one point top of the table, with a game in hand.

Zidane looked like he’d built a side that could win everything. The Real Madrid of 2017/18 are a shadow of that side. Teams are not fearing them anymore.

Defeats to Girona and Real Betis, as well as a loss at Wembley to Tottenham Hotspur would have seemed inconceivable last season, yet they sum up how poorly Madrid have been playing.

 Cristiano Ronaldo and Co have been increasingly frustrated this season

AP:ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Cristiano Ronaldo and Co have been increasingly frustrated this season

What’s more, the front line just isn’t working. Like the rest of the top four, Madrid have been playing a 4-4-2, with Ronaldo, Manchester United transfer target Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Borja Mayoral vying for the front roles.

The Welshman has been injured for most of the season, starting just five games, yet he’s still their joint top scorer in the league, with just four goals, alongside Ronaldo, Isco and Marco Asensio.

Benzema has just two, while 20-year-old Mayoral, taking Alvaro Morata’s place in the squad, has just one start and a solitary goal.

The lack of a goalscorer is noticeable and it’s the first time ever that after 17 games, no Real Madrid player has scored more than four league goals.

 More fitness doubts over Gareth Bale have added to a poor first half of the season

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More fitness doubts over Gareth Bale have added to a poor first half of the season
 Ex-Man Utd flier Cristiano Ronaldo has seen his Real team-mates struggle this term

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Ex-Man Utd flier Cristiano Ronaldo has seen his Real team-mates struggle this term

And the situation is clearly affecting the players, with Marcelo sounding dejected after the Celta draw.

“We’re sad and we’re f***ing sunk,” he said.

“We’re trying to get out of this mess and we’re working to do that, but we don’t like this at all.

“It’s difficult because the more matches you draw or lose, the more the pressure increases. We can’t do anything else.

“We do what we can, we try to play good football, score goals and circulate the ball, but it’s not happening for us.

“There’s no choice but to show your best face and fight. Fight and give your best so you can win.”

 Real boss Zinedine Zidane knows there is all but no chance of catching Barcelona

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Real boss Zinedine Zidane knows there is all but no chance of catching Barcelona
bobi
Nga bobi January 10, 2018 06:07
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