5 things we've learned about Real Madrid so far this season
The 2016-17 season was a historic one for Real Madrid as they won La Liga for a record-extending 33rd time and then went on to become the first ever club to defend the Champions League title as well.
However, less than a year later, the defending Spanish and European champions look a pale shadow of themselves and what’s even more baffling is how the very factors that led them to glory last year are the ones that are failing them this time around.
While Zinedine Zidane seems to have lost his Midas touch as a manager, the once fearsome trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo is now officially a thing of the past. With half the season still to play, Los Blancos have already surrendered the title to Barcelona after putting up one of the weakest title defences in football history.
Here are five things we’ve learned about Real Madrid based on their abysmal domestic form this season so far:
#5 Keylor Navas deserves to be Real Madrid’s first-choice goalkeeper
Real Madrid’s interest in signing David de Gea from Manchester United is a longstanding and well-documented one. And truth be told, the Spaniard would have been a Galactico a few years back itself, had it not been for a faulty fax machine.
However, in amongst this elongated transfer saga, the million dollar question that is often not at all asked is whether or not Madrid really need an upgrade on their current goalkeeper, Keylor Navas? And the simple answer to that question is ‘no’.
The Costa Rican shot-stopper has given a good account of himself on most occasions whenever he has played this season. Moreover, while some of the big names in the Madrid squad like Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema can be held responsible for Madrid’s woeful run in the league, next to no blame can be attached to Navas this season.
On the contrary, this season will be remembered as the one in which Navas proved himself as the ultimate unsung hero in the Madrid squad. Though the now 31-year-old certainly isn’t one of the biggest names in the Madrid side, his contributions were integral in leading Madrid to domestic and Champions League glory last season and he has been one of the few players who has replicated those standards this season as well.
But unfortunately for Navas, he has been let down by the rest of his team on more than one occasion this term and you just can’t help but feel for the man.
And this was never more the case than when Navas saved a penalty from Iago Aspas against Celta Vigo which kept Madrid in the lead, only to be denied all three points through a late equalizer from Maximiliano Gomez.
Following the kind of dismal season that Madrid have endured so far, one can be certain that more than a few changes need to be rung in at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer transfer window. But having said that, if there’s anyone who doesn’t deserve the axe, it has to Navas.