Real Madrid are into the quarter finals of the Champions League once more, as Zinedine Zidane continues to prove he was made to coach at this level.
The Frenchman deployed a formation with three centre-backs in the second leg against Atalanta, with the hosts seeing the game out with relative ease.
Luka Modric, doesn’t ever retire
The Croatian put on another exhibition against Atalanta. He first half was exceptional, dictating the play for his team and stopping that of the opposition. It was he who pounced on Marco Sportiello’s mistake to set Karim Benzema up for the opener.
Let’s see what happens this time, Zidane
The Real Madrid boss has guided his time into the last eight of the Champions League after three years away. He was confident in his team and his system, dealing with Casemiro’s absence through suspension so well that you didn’t notice he wasn’t there.
Benzema keeps on going
While Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe make the headlines, Benzema keeps scoring. The striker has 21 goals in all competitions this season, including five in the Champions League. In fact, after goals against Borussia Monchengladbach, Inter and now Atalanta, he’s just one behind Raul’s tally of 71 in the competition.
Vinicius almost does a Maradona
Vinicius Junior was the surprise selection in Zidane’s starting line-up but he repaid his coach’s faith with an outstanding performance. He was brave, daring and dangerous, almost crowning off his display with a fine solo goal in the 54th minute. Winning a penalty not long after will have to do.
Nacho’s masterful match
The Spaniard understands Zidane’s formation better than anybody and contributed both in defence and attack. After a lifetime of wearing the white shirt, it’s about time Nacho got the credit he deserves.
Where was Hazard?
Eden Hazard didn’t attend the match at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano after picking up another injury in the build-up to the game. There’s not been confirmation yet, but it’s thought that the Belgian is seeking another operation on his ankle.