Real Madrid’s Most Important: Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema or Thibaut Courtois? | ESPN FC

published on July 22, 2020

How did this happen because i remember it was almost a year ago this week them losing here in the united states seven to three against atletico madrid in the preseason not just how did it happen but how did it happen without

Really any significant contribution from eden hazard who was the one guy they brought in in the summer to be the big hit yeah well i mean part of the answer

Actually goes back to what we did start the show with which is barcelona of course by definition any league title race is relative it's about who you're up against about how they perform

You look at barcelona's points total it's the worst that it's been in over a decade uh you look at the number of points with which romans are going to win the league it wouldn't have been enough to have won

The league in the last two seasons in which barcelona have done so you look at the return from lockdown and barcelona were two points clear so really would have had an absolutely fabulous run in

During lockdown of 10 wins in a row but had barcelona been able to continue winning of course it would still have not been enough so you have to put it in the context

Of barcelona's collapse in crisis i think in truth you also have to put it in context of that lockdown and zidane such a ramos florentino perez the president have all said this they've all said that there was something about

Brownville that was slightly different post lockdown that said of course madrid had a better season than in previous years because they came back from lockdown still within touch of farsan in previous years

By march which of course is when we stopped playing they'd already been way way way out of the title race so it changed in that sense let me take it to new york for you as you say that was the day that they

They were beaten and they conceded seven goals against atletico madrid it was an absolute crisis i remember one of the headlines that day said there was one team on the pitch and one ruin one was a teaming in in

Rubble a team completely destroyed there was nothing there there was no plan there was no football there was no identity zidane came out after the game and said i am convinced we will have a good

Season i think one of the things we all did and i blame myself as well by the way was get very excited about that and think that it was more than a pre-season friendly which fundamentally is what it

Was i i think zidane has settled things since then i think he's seen the weaknesses and so worked to to build a solid side to build a defensively strong side a

Side that occasionally yes has been fortunate and as you rightly say by the way a side that has really not relied on big money signings jovich hazard bale hamish four most expensive players

In the realm of squad four of the six most extensive players in the club's history and their contribution between them on average is nine and a half games and one and a half goals

Of those players now in hazard's case it's different because he was injured the others have just been frozen out the others have really not had a role to play you look at the players who have had the

Most minutes in the team the top nine are all new players the tenth is mendy that's right top nine all players the temp is a new player mendy a left back now he's been important

But not massively important he shared the minutes more or less with marcelo i think what we've seen with zidane is a return to the old guard a return to his trust in the players that won three champions leagues and

Maybe there's a lesson here for barcelona you asked me in a minute ago what's the reason for optimism at barcelona the optimism is they've got a very good squad real madrid looked to be at a mess 12

Months ago but the optimism was there were still good players in that squad even if it was an aging squad even if it was problematic even if they weren't scoring as many goals as they used to be even if they didn't have cristiano

Ronaldo anymore there were still things there and what sedan did of course was was connect to the squad as he always had done emotionally tactically look at the the what he could

Do plausibly in terms of building a structure that would work that would protect them and then of course in the context of a season in which neither atletico madrid nor barcelona will ultimately feel like

They've reached the top kind of figures in points that they they would have hoped for you mentioned the long list of big names that haven't produced for real madrid but surely there are players this season

Who have when you look at a championship team usually oh absolutely the most valuable players pretty obvious who's the most irreplaceable player on this real madrid team because for me it's not so obvious

No i think you're right and i think it's it's very interesting to look at the realm of team and talk about who have been the big performance and as i say i do think it's very difficult to do this analysis properly

Precisely because of the fact that we've had kind of two halves of the season welded together kind of awkwardly you know the two the two bits of the season don't really fit together that well and so if

You look at real madrid as a whole over the entire season i think you would say the most consistent performers are probably casimiro and karen benzema if you look post lockdown

Sergio ramos suddenly stood up and became the leader became the key player and actually we saw a return to form a return to really brilliant form of luka modric who hadn't been hugely important earlier earlier in the season

The player that gave the moment the most freshness the most drive the most sense of there being something new about them was valve early but the ultimate feeling once the season's been over is that perhaps he wasn't as important

As we first saw in that middle part of the season and then of course it's been courtois who had a difficult time in the autumn but i think it's been absolutely brilliant

From about november onwards and i think in a way maybe that's the key to this success we've had really big contributions at very important times with a very steady team

You look at the numbers and i think it's basically a spine of seven or eight players who played almost every game who played over 30 30 starts in the in the 37 games they've played so far this season

And i think that's been the basis of it that players have stepped up when it's really mattered here's a stat for you which i think underlines that really really quite clearly of the realm of squad this season 21

Players have scored goals only two outfield players in the entire squad have not scored this season in la liga one of them is brahim death who only played 59 minutes and the other is militare who's

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