Real Madrid won the Primera Division round before the end after beating Villarreal in a match with a huge bet. And the great pursuer and last year’s champion Barcelona takes the honorable second place, without a chance to displace the first, even with an equal point asset in the final.
But why is the king dead and who is he? One hypothesis is to consider the Barcelona team as the old “heir to the throne”. The idea here, however, is different. The “King” is Real, and the one who started the season is dead. With devastating losses in pre-season training, a bad start in the favorite Champions League and many missteps in La Liga.
And while in theory no one “counts” this pre-season, the fans have certainly swallowed hard not so much the loss from the German colossus Bayern Munich with 1: 3, as the striking blow from the city enemy Atletico Madrid with 3: 7. The negative examples are many – a classic loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, equal to Villarreal and Valladolid in the Primera, relegation from the tournament for the King’s Cup by Real Sociedad and others. Of course, everyone has bad moments, but then they prevailed in “white”.
As expected, all this caused tension at the Santiago Bernabeu, and many critics talked about Zinedine Zidane. Is it possible or not? A miracle for a while or a football genius? Let’s add the stereotype that good football players rarely become good coaches. Well, once again Zizu disproved anyone who doubted him.
Because it is not easy to be a big name at the head of such a club. A psychologist rather than a theorist. A motivator rather than a mentor. At the heart of Real’s new history is Zinedine Zidane. And the words of the native legend Dimitar Berbatov: “A statue of Zidane should be erected in front of the Bernabeu is gaining more and more meaning.
The main recipe for another success of the French mentor seems to be in the rotations. The long bench was used in the best way, and everyone got game minutes. The fact that there are 21 different goal scorers speaks for itself.
Strange as it may sound, one of Zidane’s trump cards turned out to be the forced break because of COVID-19. After the resumption of European football, the alumni of the French coach are in monstrous form – 10 consecutive successes with a goal difference of 19: 4. In addition, two important figures in the squad, who treated injuries, returned – Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio.
The goalkeeper and the defense
Bad start, very questionable and a dose of uncertainty. A number of analysts underestimated Thibaut Courtois, and many fans of the “kings” still can not forgive the removal of Keylor Navas. However, the Belgian demonstrated why he was chosen number 1 at the 2018 World Cup. Indicative of the skills of the guard is his great series without conceding a goal, which stopped in the 535th minute. Because of his good performance, Courtois bravely aspired to the “Zamora” award for the best goalkeeper in La Liga.
Great attention must also be paid to the protection of “los blancos”. This season she is undoubtedly the best in Spain with only 23 goals conceded. The understanding between the central defenders Sergio Ramos and Rafael Varane is on a level, and one of the best and ideological defenders – Danny Carvajal and Marcelo add the necessary color to the team.
It hardly takes many words. Stable in defense, leader in the locker room, ready to sacrifice himself in front of the team. The captain of the “whites” Sergio Ramos continues to be the second most important in the team after the coach, and with his 10 goals in La Liga he proved that he is also a scorer.
One of the great discoveries this season is undoubtedly Ferlan Mendy. The Frenchman is slowly beginning to displace the veteran of the left back – Marcelo, successfully showing a good game in both defense and attack.
The divine trio Kazemiro – Modric – Kroos continues to hold the level for another year, and each of the three has his own merit for this title. “The laborer” Casemiro does the most difficult and risky work on the field, and over the years the winner of the Golden Ball for 2019 seems to become more precise. Tony Kroos impresses with his accuracy in his passes and covering a serious part of the field.
The great discovery besides Mandy, however, is Federico Valverde, who managed to win more and more titular minutes. Fast, creative and uncompromising on the defensive, Valverde is always a good option.
The Frenchman is the man who definitely spends his second youth in the team. Although he will make 33 this year, the physical form he is in is impressive. Many wondered “Who will score after Ronaldo?”, And Benzema showed that he is the man. With 25 goals in all tournaments, 21 of them in La Liga, the striker is second only to Barcelona star Lionel Messi in the fight for the Pichichi trophy.
Lots of potential, great technique, but also bad luck. Hazard came to Real with high expectations, but 2 serious injuries put an end to the otherwise genius football genius. Undoubtedly, the Belgian himself underestimated the situation to some extent, as he was not in optimal shape on arrival. Next season, however, all eyes will be on him.
Vinicius and Rodrigo
Interestingly, only the legends Raul and Iker Casillas have more matches for the White Ballet than Vinicius before they turn 20. And although the general opinion is: “He needs more time” and “He lacks a finishing touch”, Vinicius is definitely not only the future, but also the present of Real Madrid.
The situation is similar with Rodrigo. The youngster demonstrates great qualities, a look at the game and speed, and it seems that he is not afraid to fire at the opponents’ goal. It is no coincidence that the Marca newspaper also identified the main difference between the two Brazilian talents – while Vinicius often acts hastily and recklessly, Rodrigo has a “pause” button. In other words – the opportunity to stop, think and make the right decision in a tense situation.
These include the already established Marco Asensio, Isco and Lucas Vazquez, which in practice provides rotations and a serious arsenal of attacking power. However, Gareth Bale, Brahim Diaz and Luka Jovic stay away from the picture, and the Welshman is definitely looking harder at the door of the Bernabeu.
34th La Liga title
After all that has been said, one thing is clear – Ronaldo was replaced not by a specific player, but by a stable alloy between everyone on the team. Well-distributed goals, an iron defense and a great goalkeeper secured Real’s title in Spain. And the main culprit is the greatly underestimated Zinedine Zidane. Who easily won his 11th trophy at the head of the White Ballet.
Comment by Desislava Francova, Bulgaria ONAIR