LaLiga 2018-19: Are Real Madrid a sinking ship that can't be rescued?
Real Madrid did not have the best of starts this season as their star player and arguably the best player to wear the Los Blancos' jersey, Cristiano Ronaldo joined Italian champions Juventus for a transfer fee of €100 million.
The newly appointed head coach Julen Lopetegui started his tenure at the club with a 4-2 defeat against city rivals Athletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup. Real Madrid launched their league campaign positively as they were unbeaten in their opening five games with four wins and one draw.
Madrid started showing signs of decline since matchday 6 when they lost to Sevilla away from home by 3-0 and went on a five-match winless streak in the league that also included a 5-1 thumping at the hands of their fiercest rivals FC Barcelona. The string of bad results left the club with no choice but to sack Lopetegui within four months of his appointment.
The managerial duties were then handed over to Santiago Solari who started off well, and in his very first match, Madrid defeated their Copa del Rey rivals UD Melilla 4-0 away from home. However, Solari wasn't able to turn things around entirely at the Madrid based club as in his fifth game in-charge, Madrid were beaten 3-0 by Eibar and slipped to the 6th place in the league table.
We shall now take a look at the reasons why Madrid's problems aren't just limited to managerial tactics and how the club has become a sinking ship that is very difficult to rescue.
The writing was on the wall since last season
Many believe that Real Madrid's sufferings have begun in the on-going season; however, Los Blancos' were not performing well last season either. Madrid were regularly dropping points in the league and finished the season in third place behind Atletico Madrid with 76 points.
It became evident in January 2018 that the club had given up on defending its league title as many of the first team players were constantly rested during league matches for the more important European fixtures.
The elimination of Madrid from Copa del Rey in the quarter-final stage against Leganes removed all dilemmas for Zinedine Zidane as he now only had to focus on winning the Champions League title and save Madrid's season.
Cristiano Ronaldo was expected to deliver during the knockout stages of the Champions League and lived up to the expectations as he scored six goals in the knockout matches and helped Los Blancos' lift their 13th overall and 3rd consecutive Champions League title.
The European success submerged Madrid's shortcomings in the earlier half of the season, and as a result, the club failed to address those problems.
Lack of motivation among players
Real Madrid players have looked off color this season as they are conceding goals cheaply and are inefficient in the final third. The team has especially suffered against opponents that are considered weaker on paper and play with a defensive approach.
The resilient midfield consisting of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro has looked dull as they aren't able to showcase their full potential. The 2018 Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric has looked like a mere shadow of himself in the past 4-5 months as he is unable to create the same magic in the midfield that he did in the past couple of seasons.
The attacking line up has looked clueless ever since the departure of the Portuguese talisman Cristiano Ronaldo as Madrid's shot conversion rate has been terrible this season. In their last league game against Real Sociedad, Madrid took a total of 28 shots with only 8 of those being on target and failed to score as they lost 2-0 at home.
The club currently seems to be going through a transitional phase as they have been investing in the future by signing young players like Vinicius Jr. and Brahim Diaz rather than solving the on-going problems with a short-term fix..