The 2020/21 season has officially kicked off for La Liga defending champions Real Madrid, and they began with a goalless draw against Real Sociedad at the Reale Arena.
The game was a tense fixture that had many well-fought individual battles throughout the pitch, and neither team could prevail at the end of 90 minutes, having to walk away with a point each.
Both teams pressed quite well and managed to keep each other at bay while keeping the game flowing from end to end. The teams were neat in possession but there were not too many clear cut chances for either side to make the most of. Karim Benzema came closest for the visitors in the first half while David Silva's shot was heroically blocked by Raphael Varane to keep the scores level.
Here are the talking points from the La Liga fixture between Real Madrid and Real Sociedad:
#1 Injuries and Intensity
When the squads for both teams were announced before the game, many fans were quite baffled to see the sheer number of big names missing on both ends, as both Zinedine Zidane and Imanol Alguacil had to contend with a (comparetively) light squad.
Real Madrid saw Eden Hazard stay out while nursing another injury in his right foot, the same one he injured against PSG back in the Champions League group stage after being the victim of a rather rash challenge from international teammate Thomas Meunier. Isco, Eder Militao, Asensio, Lucas Vasquez and Mariano also missed out on the fixture.
For Real Sociedad, Assier Illaramendi, Alex Sola and Luca Sangalli were among a list of 9 players who were unavailable for selection.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on footballers as the number of games they have to play for club and country to make up for lost time will be immense.
Almost every team will be playing 3 games a week for quite a while before things slow down for the mid-season break. However, that will see international teams calling up the players to play friendlies before the Euros take place in 2021.
#2 Real Madrid's squad post trim
Zinedine Zidane made quite a few decisions this summer regarding several heavyweights, with players like Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Reguilon now having departed the club.
Gareth Bale, who's been loaned to Tottenham Hotspur for the season, is arguably the biggest name of the bunch. His relationship with the club had grown quite toxic, and the final straw for the club was when he asked to be left out of the squad to face Manchester City last season.
Sergio Reguilon has also left for Spurs, albeit with a buy-back option that the club can exercise throughout his stay in London. Economically, Real Madrid have made good moves overall, with James Rodriguez being offloaded to Everton, relieving the club of his massive wages while giving him room to show his truly magnificent talent.
With Achraf Hakimi also joining Inter Milan, Zidane now has a squad that he wants. However, will we see Real Madrid really take off this season? Only time will tell.