Despite statistics showing that Real Madrid have been bad all season, the club is blaming refereeing for being fifth and hopes that the fans follow along
Real Madrid’s humungous crash at home last Sunday to a previously-struggling Real Sociedad has kicked the smoke and mirrors machine into high gear as the team sinks into fifth.
A team losing games and blaming the refs. How unexpected, right?
The predictability of such a fit of bad sportsmanship is high, especially when the losing team is not that capable when facing defeat. Real Madrid players and fans are used to winning, so they need double the effort to absorb any setback.
Against Real Sociedad and in front of their crowd, only Vinicius Jr. stood out in a boring, unimaginative team, unable to string together a couple of good plays and absolutely dismantled in the second half. Real Sociedad could’ve easily scored a couple more goals in their 2-0 win if they hadn’t been so careless when finishing their chances.
But… the fault lied on a controversial penalty over Sergio Ramos that the Video-Assisted Referee didn’t consider punishable. Yeah, that’s the ‘official’ reading into all of this mess. There was a time when Real fans pitied the fools who complained and bickered about this fact. They even showed banners in the stadium: “Refs being unfair? Sought by those who only know how to cry” was the message shown a decade ago in the Bernabeu stands, slamming opposite fanbases who complained.
While Real Madrid’s own official TV channel currently broadcasts piece after piece arguing how clear that penalty was or how VAR is harming Los Blancos’ chances of fighting for the championship in a global conspiracy, the sheer stats for the team this season are an awful sight for any level-headed fan.
Against Real Sociedad, Santiago Solari’s men added their sixth defeat this season in La Liga: this means they have lost one in every three, and that’s just not acceptable for such a club. To be fair, it’s not completely Solari’s fault, as he came in after Lopetegui had already coached the team through four of those defeats.
Real have lost a fair share of their identity and values of late. Cricketsoccer readers will remember how we talked last season about a team who many times walked the line and usually was lucky enough to come out unscathed. The Champions League success last season and the Club World Cup win a few weeks ago managed to cover up that fact. But that is no longer the case: Cristiano is long gone, the team isn’t reliable and that pinch of luck seems to be missing too.
Casemiro’s clumsy penalty conceded against Real Sociedad is the perfect example of that ‘off’ feeling that is sweeping through the squad. With Isco starting in the bench once again and inspiration seemingly absent from Modric and Kroos’ game, only young Vinicius appeared to enjoy his time out of the grey, boring zone where many players have been living lately. His spark and attitude sure got fans again straight into the game. The club shouldn’t burden him with the responsibility of turning around the situation, but he should start for sure much more times that he has to date.
Benzemà remains aloof and his slow pace clashes sometimes with what a game demands. Gareth Bale once again got injured a few days ago and made matters even worse after fleeing the stadium on Sunday while 15 minutes remained till the end of the match, with no reasonable official explanation 24 hours later. I guess what he was seeing from top of the stadium wasn’t worth his time…
All in all, both public stances regarding Real’s crisis (the team has plenty of problems vs ‘it’s all the refs fault!) will collide and implode at some point, as Barça’s advantage has increased to 10 points in January. This means Valverde’s mean would have to lose more than three games for Real to catch up… and that’s not counting that Atlético, Sevilla and even the mighty Alavés are in a better place than Los Blancos in the standings.
Is throwing away La Liga five months before it finishes a good plan? It doesn’t seem so. But, for yet another year, it already appears Real are happy to put all their eggs in the Champions League basket. However, the football gods might not be ready to stand by their side once again with such vulgar performances on display.