Real Madrid – La Liga Looking strong despite the injury crisis
Zinedine Zidane‘s Real Madrid have more lives than a cat. Despite enduring the worst injury plague Valdebebas can remember, Los Blancos ended the weekend three points closer to leaders Atletico Madrid, and two further ahead of Barcelona.
In January, LaLiga Santander almost looked lost, but four straight wins have seen them re-enter the title race.
But the weekend’s win at Real Valladolid doesn’t disguise the delicate situation they’re living through, something Zidane knows more than anyone.
His bench on Saturday was full of Castilla players, and Isco was the only recognised outfield first-team player there.
Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal are missed at the back, Martin Odegaard was let leave in January, and even in attack there are problems.
The total of those injured could be as high as nine if Karim Benzema‘s problems are confirmed on Monday, adding to Eden Hazard, Rodrygo Goes and others.
At the Estadio Jose Zorrilla, Zidane played an untested trident of Vinicius Junior, Mariano Diaz and Marco Asensio, who had only played together against Melilla in 2018/19, with Santiago Solari on the bench.
That trio was the 13th different attack that the Frenchman has used at Real Madrid, with the BBC now no more than a memory.
The Spanish champions will have to show their survival instincts against Atalanta on Wednesday. The Italians are a more dangerous opponent than their humble name suggests, and they pose a serious threat to Los Blancos.
Now, Zidane has to hope the LaLiga Santander momentum is carried into the Champions League.
They’ll come up against a complicated opponent, who attack relentlessly and play at a high tempo, doing everything they can to win.
Real Madrid, though, deserve credit. With Zidane at the helm, they’ve become experts in the art of resistance.