Real Madrid must start from scratch to climb back to their best
The referee took a quick glance at his watch and blew the final whistle at the Santiago Bernabeu. The players donning the famous white kit of Real Madrid were walking towards the tunnel with their heads bowed down while most fans at the stadium started leaving minutes ago. It was a night to forget for Real Madrid as they lost against Real Sociedad after 15 years.
Summarizing Real Madrid's season by calling it a disaster will be an understatement. They have sacked their coach Julen Lopetegui before the mid-season after enduring one of the worst starts to a season in the club's rich history and appointed former Real Madrid Castilla boss Santiago Solari as their new coach. They are currently fifth in the LaLiga, ten points behind league leaders Barcelona by getting just 30 points from possible 54.
The scariest thing for people associated with Real Madrid is that they might not qualify for Champions League if their woeful form continues. The board, coach and the players are looking everywhere, desperate to improve their performances but things are just not getting in their way this season. The match against Real Sociedad recorded the second worst attendance at the Santiago Bernabeu and deservedly so.
The fans' anger is justified because of the repeated poor displays of their favourite team. Los Blancos seems to be without direction, organization or any plan A from the coaches. The world-class players are being dominated by almost every opponent because of a distinct lack of ideology and tactics from the coach and absence of the hunger and mentality among the players.
Vinicius Junior, the 18-year-old Brazilian had the most impact on the pitch for Los Blancos against Real Sociedad. His bursts of pace combined with his raw dribbling skills and supreme confidence on the ball made him the most threatening player on the pitch.
Vinicius Junior's performance was the rare silver lining and it is quite shambolic that a teenager is leading the way for Real Madrid amidst a host of world-class players. He looked like the only player who can make something happen in front of goal. It is wake up call for the players like Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Isco, Luka Modric and Marcelo to step up and deliver.
It is almost shocking how the squad which made history by winning three consecutive UEFA Champions League and Club World Cup are falling down into the abyss so quickly. Real Madrid have the same set of players who etched their name into the history books by some brilliant performances over the years, barring their former talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and legendary Zinedine Zidane.
The absence of one man cannot impact the result but undoubtedly, Real Madrid miss their greatest goalscorer of all-time, Cristiano Ronaldo. Lionel Messi has been involved in the same amount of goals Real Madrid has scored in the LaLiga in 2018/19. This clearly how Real Madrid board failed to deal with the transfer of Ronaldo to Juventus and shot on their own foot by not signing a replacement.
Arguably, the guidance of legendary Zinedine Zidane is being missed more. Under his tutelage, Los Blancos came back several times from the brinks of defeat by showing indomitable fighting spirit and character. His organization was key to Real Madrid's unprecedented success over the past three seasons which is clearly missing now.
It is crystal clear that there is no scapegoat and no escape for the board, players and coach. The poor start was not solely Julen Lopetegui's fault and it is becoming more clear than ever. The current poor streak of Real Madrid is a collective defeat and everyone must share the responsibility of the failures.
The season is yet to be over but it is unlikely that Real Madrid will get their hands on the LaLiga. But, Los Blancos must recognize that they can still fight for two competitions, one of which they dominated like none throughout the history of the football. Real Madrid must ignore any assumptions, forget all about their mistakes and start afresh to give their best.
Like life, football is extremely cruel at times and always unpredictable. Real Madrid has a nasty habit of extending their limits and finding out the will to snatch victories from the brink of death. But they are unable to find that spark that propelled them to historic heights in the previous seasons. It is only normal as the players are humans and are not immune to failures but if anyone knows how to turn things around, it's Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are at rock bottom now and the players, coach and everyone else must dive into their own success to restore the belief and to renew their fighting spirit. The senior players must earn their place in the squad and take one match at a time. It still is a brand new year and starting from point zero seems to be the only way to survive the horrendous season.