The impressive 8:0 against Malmo in the Champions League on Tuesday was not enough to cover a deep crisis of Real Madrid, who is being led by their coach Rafael Benitez.
Problems could not become more obvious than in their last game at “El Madrigal” against Villarreal in Round 15 of Spanish La Liga – Villarreal – Real Madrid 1:0 (1:0).
Villarreal is traditionally uncomfortable opponent to Real Madrid, who had won only once in their last four away games against the “Yellow Submarine”. After this defeat, Real Madrid is lagging five points behind the leaders, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Real Madrid squad: Navas – Danilo, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo – Casemiro, Modric, Rodriguez – Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.
It turned out that everything was finished in the eighth minute of the match when Croatian midfielder Luka Modric made an amateur dribbling mistake close to his own net. Villareal’s Bruno was concentrated to make a perfect tackle, and then Cedric Bakambu passed the ball to Roberto Soldado who easily scored, punishing Luka’s grave mistake. Real Madrid’s goalkeeper, Jesus Navas, could not do anything – 1:0.
Roberto Soldado, a 30-year old veteran, played for Real Madrid from 2006-2008, but not with much success. With this goal, Soldado equaled the record of Samuel Eto’o as a football player who scored most goals against his former club – five.
Real Madrid suffered their third defeat in the last five games in the Spanish league while Villarreal deservedly reached the second triumph in a row. This triumph will push Villarreal to the 5th spot, behind Celta Vigo, while the “Royal Club” missed a chance to reach Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, and remained on 30 points, five behind the leading duo.
All draws and defeats of Real Madrid in La Liga Season 2015/2016 so far:
Sporting Gijon 0:0
Atletico Madrid 1:1
Benites’ squad, Real Madrid, was absolutely outplayed in the first half. Finally, after a half-time break, in the second half, they were prepared to go all-out-attack, but Villarreal’s goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and his defence stayed strong and kept their composure. Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid centre-back, had a chance to equalize, but then started another series of Villarreal’s attacks.
As the match drew to a close, Cristiano Ronaldo grew more and more nervous, Gareth Bale became invisible, and Karim Benzema seemed disinterested in the game. Real Madrid did not have many chances in the last minutes and it looked like they had already surrendered. The final whistle marked their third defeat in the last five rounds, along with three draws from September and October.
What could possibly comfort Real Madrid manager, Rafa Benitez, is the schedule of their future fixtures. The next four out of five matches in La Liga, Real is playing at home, and their opponents are fighting to avoid relegation – Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad, Deportivo La Coruna and Sporting Gijon. In the middle of this series, Real will play derby match at “Mestalla” against Valencia.
Will Benitez be able to keep his job until then or not?
We will see.