Real Madrid – La Liga MARCA analyse the 16 best forwards in Europe
Real Madrid progressed into the knockout phase of the Champions League with the strange sensation that nobody really believes they can win the tournament, and a lot of this is down to the team lacking the forward power of their rivals left in the competition.
Karim Benzema is the only centre-forward that Zinedine Zidane trusts, and the depth of attacking options at the club could be set to be cut even further once Luka Jovic makes his loan return to Eintracht Frankfurt official.
Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio are asked to do too much, and the team simply doesn’t score enough goals as a result. There is no clear, defined, central presence like there was in the Cristiano Ronaldo era.
MARCA have analysed the 16 teams left in the Champions League and Zidane‘s charges have the worst numbers, which is hard to believe upon first glance.
The trident of Benzema, Asensio and Vinicius Junior have only scored 16 goals between them, which is the second worst of the 16 remaining teams.
“They’re not a bad team, they attack and create a lot chances, they have Benzema who can take the lead and score a lot, but he needs the rest of his teammates to start scoring too,” Paco Jemez explained.
“Everything depends on Benzema. It’s difficult if you don’t have a Cristiano, [Erling] Haaland, [Robert] Lewandowski or [Lionel] Messi, it’s difficult to score the goals that the team did previously.
“Atleti, Barcelona, Juventus and PSG all have a better forward line than Madrid, the team’s goals aren’t being scored by their forwards, and they aren’t going to sign anyone.”
Luis Suarez signing for Los Colchoneros has given them a new dimension going forward, whilst Haaland has emerged as perhaps the most clinical finisher football has seen since Cristiano Ronaldo.
In an era where highly expensive attacking tridents are all the rage, there is still a need for a clear central figure within that setup, and Los Blancos simply don’t have it.
Benzema has been sensational since Ronaldo left the club, and all credit to him, but he is at his best when he is creating chances and dragging defences around with his movement.
If Los Merengues had Haaland alongside Benzema, you wonder just how much better the team would be, they’d definitely be a contender to cause problems deep into the Champions League.
Radio MARCA’s David Fernandez detailed how Bayern Munich‘s front three were so spectacular with the presence of Robert Lewandowski making them all the more potent.
“Bayern Munich are the best not only because of the numbers of Lewandowski, but also because there are alternatives with [Leroy] Sane, [Kingsley] Coman and [Serge] Gnabry,” Fernandez explained. “Whoever plays does well.”
Buying and identifying these goalscoring machines is difficult, especially in a pandemic-impacted market.
Florentino Perez is trying to cut costs at Real Madrid, and if you look to Haaland for example, there’s just no way you’re signing him for anything under 100 million euros, he’s just that valuable.
So, for now, Los Merengues must stick with what they have, they will once again head into the second phase of the Champions League knowing that their defence will need to carry them, but with uncertainty surrounding Sergio Ramos‘ contract, that too is in doubt.