Impotence, lesson in humility, punishment for indolence, bathing in reality … Any of these headlines summarizes what happened to Real Madrid to fall for the first time at home against Cádiz, a recently promoted one who brought out the colors in all the aspects and is worked wonderfully by Álvaro Cervera. A week before the classic and on the eve of starting the Champions League against Shakhtar, the merengue team reaped its first defeat of the course and left an image that does not exactly invite optimism, although it always serves as a loser consolation that Barça also failed in their visit to Getafe.
A year after falling in Mallorca, also just after a day of national teams in October, Real Madrid stumbled again on the same stone. Identical and recurring errors that brought out the worst face of the errant team led by Zidane, who avoided any excuse and recognized after the game that the yellows deserved to go even with two or three goals ahead. Merit of them, of their order, speed, versatility and ambition, but absolute failure of a disconnected Real Madrid, with a passive attitude, failed rotations and that worrying scoring baggage since Cristiano Ronaldo is not there.
If in the final stretch of last year the whites made an effort to, in the absence of a brilliant game, take a step forward to turn Valdebebas into a fort, be solid in defense and put on track victories by the minimum that made him champion, yesterday they returned to fall down with the whole team. Only Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was at the minimum required height. The rest, without tension, without play, without physicality and without the inherent desire of a professional team. In modern football it is very difficult to beat any opponent by walking.
The first indicated is Zidane, to which a good part of the criticism demands that he not give titles to players who do not deserve them and that he rotate with more head. He is accused of having dispensed with both Casemiro and Valverde and of placing Toni Kroos as a defensive pivot, the German who has already told his own coach that he does not want to play in that delicate area that requires a huge physical display and a hard leg.
The four changes that Zizou made at half-time are an acknowledgment of his mistake in the initial approach. The dynamics improved somewhat in the second half, where it was a more recognizable Madrid that at least dominated, round the tying goal a couple of times and did not concede so many counterattacks to the rival. But adding a point would have been misleading, unfair if you look at the merits of the contenders.
No plan ‘B’
The ‘plan B’ of a short staff of troops failed and that has lost players like Gareth Bale and James Rodríguez. The usual substitutes did not claim, quite the opposite. The criticism points mainly to four players that he considers out of shape, lacking in ambition and apparently well off: the youth squad Nacho Fernandez, greatly surpassed yesterday by his brother Álex; Lucas Vazquez, unproductive in attack; Marcelo, which every day costs more to go up and especially to go down to defend, and Isco Alarcon, out of shape, surely overweight and without the pride required to claim a starting position in Madrid and return to the national team.
Madrid fans are concerned about their attitude, their vulnerability in defense and their lack of physicality in the midfield, but also the lack of imbalance in attack. Vinícius’ irregularity makes him overly dependent on inspiration from Karim Benzema, author of the best shot of his team, which crashed into the crossbar. A team that shoots twice at the goal of Cádiz, that commits 67 turnovers and that scores only six goals in five days, remaining to zero in two of them, has very difficult to aspire to the big titles.
Zidane is obliged to find offensive solutions, to get Jovic to join the cause and make the sides more unbalanced. Without Carvajal and without Mendy, Madrid was a disaster on the sides. It even lacked its traditional DNA, that character of comebacks and caste triumphs. They usually bear the signature of Sergio Ramos, but the Sevillian had to retire at halftime due to knee pain with which he hit Choco Lozano. It is just a strong blow and it seems that it will reach the classic but without its spirit, Madrid is a caricature.