Currently sitting fourth in the LaLiga table and collecting a meager 12 points in their Champions League group, Real Madrid are a shadow of their former self. A comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Russian side CSKA Moskva in the last match of the group stage highlighted the fact that rapid changes are necessary for Real to have any chance of gaining silverware this season. We take a look at five major reasons for the shocking decline of the Champions League holders.
- Poor performances from star players
From defence to attack, Real Madrid’s squad is filled with world-class players capable of single-handedly chaging the course of a game. However, players such as Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and even Player of the Year Luka Modric have heavily underperformed so far. The even-present defensive wall of Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos is being breached increasingly frequently while at the front the forwards are struggling without proper service from the likes of Modric and Kroos. A change of attitude is what is required if Real Madrid are to salvage their season.
- The absence of a proven goalscorer
It is no mere coincidence that Madrid’s struggles began soon after the departure of star man Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward was an ever-present threat from set pieces and open play alike. His move to Juventus seems to have taken its toll on the team and the forwards look devoid of creativity and goal-scoring prowess. Benzema continues to be on the decline while new signings Mariano and Vinicius Junior have shown signs of talent, however it is clear that they need more time and consistency. Gareth Bale, the readymade replacement to Cristiano Ronaldo continues to struggle with injuries and poor form.
Real Madrid were linked with several goal-scoring including the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe. However, their failure to sign a replacement for the charismatic Ronaldo seems to have proved costly.
- Poor coaching decisions
One of the worst takes in football has been that previous Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was just “lucky” during his historic spell at the Spaanish capital. The Frenchman’s astute coaching decisions and brilliant use of the talent at his disposal was one of the main reasons for Real Madrid’s Champions League glory. His sudden departure and the controversial arrival of Lopetegui proved to be disastrous for the team. Lopetegui’s persistence on playing a slow build-up game has hampered the creativity of the players while his decision to keep playing several underperformaing stars was questionable. This all ended in his being sacked after dissapointing defeats to lowly teams.
The new man at the helm, Santiago Solari started well at the club with back-to-back victories. However, his bright start soon faded and Madrid were back to being beaten comprehensively by sides they were expected to dominate, such as CSKA Moskva. The board needs to find a new coach soon for Real Madrid to have a chance at redemption.