The news of losing Sergio Ramos for the Champions League clash was not a satisfactory one for the Los Blancos, but the manager, Zinedine Zidane still wishes to move on in this crazy season and for him, there are no options other than victories.

After the international break, the Los Blancos met Eibar – one of the weakest sides in La Liga. But, Real Madrid have been a unit who have struggled against the weaker opponents this season and thus, before the start of the match, fingers were crossed.

Zinedine Zidane opted for a three-man backline of Eder Militao, Nacho Fernandez and Ferland Mendy, meaning Lucas Vazquez and Marcelo slotted in as wing-backs, while Asensio and Benzema were chosen to lead the forward line.

When Real Madrid announced their lineup an hour before kickoff, Marcelo’s name raised plenty of eyebrows.

Real Madrid’s record of one win, one draw and three defeats in games Marcelo has started this season started floating around, with Madrid fans fearing the worst.

But that fear erased as soon as the match started.

The Royal Whites began the match with a nice tempo.

Karim Benzema almost scored for the Los Blancos twice inside five minutes. He capitalized on a horrible back-pass from Alejandro Pozo, but Marko Dmitrovic pulled off a great one-on-one save.

VAR was on hand to deny Benzema and Marco Asensio, with both players scoring from offside positions, with Asensio also hitting the bar from a free-kick.

Real Madrid finally had their reward in the 41st minute when Casemiro intercepted the ball in the middle of the park and set up Asensio, who produced a great first touch to beat his marker before sweeping the ball into the net with a delectable curled finish.

Asensio was enjoying his best game in quite some time and came within a whisker of making it two, if not for a stretch save from Dmitrovic.

Given the number of seasons Marco Asensio has spent with Real Madrid, it’s quite staggering that this was the first time he played in three consecutive games.

Asensio and Benzema had a couple of chances once play resumed. But it was Thibaut Courtois who nearly gave Eibar a route back into the game, misjudging a back-pass and having to clear the ball off the line.

Casemiro had a goal ruled out in the 70th minute, but Sergio Arribas was offside in the buildup. However, the game was over as a contest in the 73rd minute when Karim Benzema headed home Vinicius Junior’s excellent cross to make it 2-0 for Real Madrid.

And, what that goal, Benzema surpassed the legendary Carlos Santillana in Real Madrid’s all-time goal-scoring charts.

For a player who has shouldered his share of criticism for ‘not scoring enough’ during Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at the club, it’s a brilliant return.

Benzema’s nine goals in seven consecutive games for Real Madrid is his best return since he signed for them from Lyon as a youngster.

Marcelo was one of the best players on the pitch and fitted well in the midfield region as a left-out or left-sided midfielder or flying wing-back.

Freed from his defensive responsibilities, Marcelo combined superbly with Isco to wreak havoc down Real Madrid’s left channel.

Marcelo scripted delicious crosses and ought to have had two assists if Benzema and Isco did not waste those.

Zidane’s experiments with a three-man defence started off quite badly, but gradually, it seems to have gelled well.

Atalanta had no answer as Real Madrid thwarted them in a 3-1 win in the UEFA Champions League.

Sergio Ramos’ injury meant that Zidane probably needed more protection for his defenders, and out came the three-man defence once again.


Only time will tell how well does it fit against the best sides – especially in the Champions League clash against Liverpool.

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