Real Madrid: 3 Reasons why Los Blancos will finish the season trophyless
Real Madrid has always been a winning team, collecting 13 Champions Leagues and 33 La Liga titles since 1902. The fans may have felt like they were on top of the world after celebrating the CL title win for the third time in a row in May, not knowing that a series of defeats was to define the rest of this year.
Since Zinedine Zidane's departure from the Santiago Bernabéu, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Juventus, Real Madrid has lost its path towards achievements, becoming a team incapable of finding the net against the likes of Eibar. Some may say Real Madrid is suffering because they are missing Ronaldo's goal tally. However, the absence of the Portuguese goal machine isn't the only reason of Los Blancos' poor performance; the defense line suffers most when it comes to keeping forwards away from Thibaut Courtois' gloves.
We can't deny the fact that Real Madrid is team that has surprised us constantly in the past years, with sensational Remontadas and exceptional performances becoming its trademark in the last decade. However, this season will be the one where Real Madrid falls from the top of the world and end the whole year empty-handed.
Here's a look at issues plaguing the Spanish giants:
#3 The post-Ronaldo and Zidane era
The Spanish giant's success during the past three years has been linked to two names: Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane. The Portuguese beast was Real Madrid's top goal scorer during his nine years in Madrid, netting 450 goals in 438 games, meaning an average of 1.03 goals per game. Adding to that, the left winger has always been Los Blancos' savior when his goals are needed the most. Not to mention his aggressive style of play is highly missed in Real Madrid's front line this season.
Zidane, the French legend who is widely known for his beautiful smile and his famous goal against Bayern Leverkusen in 2001/2002 CL final, added an extraordinary achievement to his trophy cabinet by winning three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles as a coach. The legendary midfielder may not have been known for his simple tactics and game-changing substitutions, but he's the one that was able to bench Ronaldo and take full control of the team's changing room, steering the team to dominate the world of football under his management.
#2 No real striker
Scoring goals have never been an issue for the club until the start of the current season, with the Spanish giant's attack suffering its worst goalless run in over three decades. Real Madrid managed to score only 28 goals in 19 La Liga games this season, having its lowest conversion rate in decades.
One can't blame the newly assigned coach Santiago Solari only, as the team's forwards, Karim Benzema, and Gareth Bale, have been unable to get out of Ronaldo's shadow even after the latter moved to Juventus six months ago. Ronaldo ended the year as Real Madrid's top scorer after he managed to grab 28 goals with the Whites. To put it simply, the French striker Benzema played 18 games in La Liga and ended up by scoring seven goals, while the Welsh forward Bale scored four goals in 14 games. Furthermore, Real Madrid's wonder kid Marco Asensio has been flopping this season as he's unable to find himself a spot in the starting XI.
Real Madrid's main problem is the starting lineup's poor performance, but the Los Blancos were also highly affected by injuries this season. The team is missing its central midfielder Toni Kroos due to a tear in his adductor muscle, while the 23-year-old defensive midfielder Marcos Llorente is suffering from a muscle tear too. Add to that the fact that Bale is back to the Sanitas hospital, recovering from a calf injury, his 19th with Real Madrid in 5-and-a-half years. Courtois, Marco Asensio, and Benzema are all injured, which make things more complicated for Solari.
With more than 25 games to come Real Madrid's way in the rest of this season, the players need to get themselves ready to help their team retain its top spot and regain its dominance over Spanish and European football. Until then, the fans have to wait and see what surprises await them in this transfer window, knowing that Eden Hazard and Neymar are on the Spanish team's radar.