I’m out of funny things to say. This wasn’t the result we wanted. It was not the result we needed. But, I have to be honest, it is the result I expected.
Zidane has only been in charge for two months. I’m willing to give him time. As all of us should be. I gave Benitez time as well (even though at the end I was 100% done). But the issues we had under Benitez have not been completely fixed. It’s been evident in our other matches; mostly against Malaga.
Our play is more positive and for that, I am 1 million times grateful. But there are holes. Sometimes it looks and feels like we’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
The result we wanted was a win and it was the result we needed. Not to salvage any hope of winning La Liga, but to salvage the Real Madrid identity. I think that’s what part of our problem has been for the past few years. We have lost the identity of the club. The other part is discipline. But that’s a whole other rant.
Pre-Match Social Media:
Social media was relatively boring. We had the usual battle of photoshop skills between Benzema and #ToniLive, but with added Lucky Luka.
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Danilo; Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Isco; Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez
Atletico Madrid: Jan Oblak; Juanfran, Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, Filipe Luis; Gabi, Koke, Augusto Fernandez; Saul Ñiguez, Fernando Torres, Antoine Griezmann
When the match started, I thought we looked pretty good. But I also commented to Lozil that Atleti weren’t pressing as hard as they normally do. They seemed relatively content to let us play our game.
We earned a freekick in the 18th minute. Kroos took it and it fell nicely on Baby Varane’s head. Unfortunately his header was just over.
In the 25th minute, Nando broke free for Atleti but he was offside.
Then Benzema had a nasty challenge on Godin. Lucky for us he was not booked.
In the 31st minute Godin picked up a yellow card for pulling back Benzema. The resulting freekick was taken by Cristiano. It was a good strike but saved pretty easily by Oblak. Benz hit the rebound just wide of the post.
Luis picked up a yellow card in the 37th minute for a late tackle on Modric.
In the 41st, Navas saved a stellar shot by Griezmann. And then two minutes later he made another fabulous save against Godin. As I texted to Lozil:
All hail our Lord and Savior Keylor Navas.
After one minute of added time, the first half was done.
Real Madrid 0 – 0 Atletico Madrid
To start the half, Borja Mayoral came in for Benzema.
In the 48th minute Cris pulled a shot wide. It was a great chance but something is off with him lately.
And in the 53rd minute, it happened.
In the 54th minute, Luis played a pass into Griezmann. His low shot got past Navas and it was 0-1 to Atleti.
In the 57th minute Lucas Vasquez came in for James. He has Mesut Ozil eyes. I’ve decided that perhaps we need to change Lozil’s nom de guerre to Lasquez.
In the 62nd minute, Vasquez was booked for a late tackle on Koke.
Did anyone else think that Nando looked really good in this match? I mean.. He obviously always looks GOOOOOD but I mean he looked up for it. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him so spunky. He was up for it. I just hate it that it was against us.
Oblak made the save on a Kylo Ron header in the 68th minute.
Isco was replaced by Jese in the 69th minute.
Gimenez was booked in the 73rd minute for going in late on Mayoral.
In the 78th minute, Atleti’s first substitution was to bring Kranevitter in for Fernandez.
Nando was replaced in the 82nd minute by Correa.
Danilo came close in the 89th minute. But it was wide.
Correa was booked in the first minute of added time when he had a clash with Danilo.
We’d resulted to long balls by now. Which reminded me of playing U-12 many years ago. It was a bit rough to watch, actually.
Sergio was booked in the 2nd minute for a bad challenge on Gabi.
And… After 4 minutes of added time, that was it.
Real Madrid 0 – 1 Atletico Madrid
“Losing at home against Atlético is difficult, but we have to keep going and think about the next game”, he added.
Zinedine Zidane spoke in the press room at the Santiago Bernabéu in order to analyse the derby against Atlético: “We have things to do this year. We have the Champions league and La Liga games. We have to keep up our work. This is a difficult time. It is necessary to be professional and think about the next game. Madrid will never give in, neither me nor the players. They can criticise us, but I am going to look for a solution and to do that we need to win on Wednesday”.
“Before the Champions league we have a game on Wednesday and we have to prepare for that game in order to play at our top level and win. Our duties and aims are for the next game. Today is a tough blow. Losing at home against Atlético is difficult”.
Slump in the team
“I don’t know if it is a result of attitude. Probably the football. I am not happy with the game and I cannot be happy with the defeat, with what happened and the game we had. The important thing for me and for the team is to think about the next game. Before you ask me if La Liga is over, it is always difficult and I will say what I said yesterday: if you lose more points it is more difficult. We’re not going to throw away the season because we have challenges”.
The way of losing
“I have complete belief in the players. I am always going to be behind the players and they are behind me. Next year we may have to change. There will be changes. There could be a change of manager too. Now we have to keep going, we are not out of everything. I wasn’t expecting the game we had today”.
Changes over the next few games
“I am not going to go crazy either. When we win I don’t let it go to my head and when we lose I don’t go crazy. I am going to prepare for the following game, I will put out the best XI and that is that”.
“I am responsible. I have to look for solutions so that doesn’t happen again. It is the first defeat at home and I wasn’t expecting it. I knew that it was a difficult game. When you have chances you have to put them in”.
“I took him off because he was feeling pain. He had an ischiotibial problem and we could not take risks. If we replaced him, it is because he had a problem”.
“The problem is not just a fitness one. We worked for three weeks doing everything. The game today was more mental. On Wednesday they played, they did not have much time to recover and look at the game they had. We lacked a little of everyone. We did not play the game we had prepared. You cannot let then get into games and they did so and played comfortably”.
“I put him on because Karim came off and I had to put on a nine. He is doing well and it was his opportunity. I would have liked him to score but he wasn’t able to.
I am happy with his work, he showed character. With Lucas I was looking for more depth and with Jesé more speed”.
Message to the players
“I have told them that we need to keep going. We are not happy but we cannot give in whatever happens. I will always say the same thing. I am clear about my ideas. In a game like that we had to do more. We had to run more, put our legs in more… If you don’t do more against the side second in the table, that is what happens”.
Ramos: “We all try to help and there are times when things don’t work out”
by Barbara Jimenez“We are players at the best side in the world and we have to show that out on the pitch”, stated Keylor.
Sergio Ramos had the following analysis of the Atlético game to offer: “This is definitely a difficult moment due to the situation. La Liga is practically out of our reach and people want to see us win. When results and targets are not achieved, people react in that way”.
“At the end of the day, everyone tries to perform at their maximum level and as captain I feel proud of every single teammate. We all try to help in the best way possible and sometimes things to do not turn out well. The idea is to be united. The season is still wide open, we have the Champions League ahead of us and La Liga is still not over”.
“If anyone knows Cristiano it is me. He is the first one to really pitch in when he has to. Above the self-criticisms we all make, we all think about the group and of being united if we want to attain success”.
“I insist that everyone will have a different opinion. I have always put a lot of emphasis on the work of the academy players, or on those that play less minutes, but really show a lot of character when they do. As I captain I would emphasise the pride I feel when I see young guys working and when they go out to try and make the most of their minutes, people like Lucas, Jesé and Mayoral”.
“The only way of convincing people is by doing the talking out on the pitch. People want explanations but in these situations often too much is said and it is necessary to talk out on the pitch. We have to be united, starting with the manager and ending with the players”.
“La Liga is very difficult, practically impossible, but there are a lot of games left and we have to keep going and remember the badge we wear, keep up a good image and stay fit in order to go into the Champions League in the best form possible”.
“If this badge and this institution stand for something, it is values, pride, heart and in that regard, this is when we must be the most united and believe that something can still be achieved. My DNA is to do as well as possible and my teammates think like me. Nobody goes out on the pitch aiming to do badly and we all like to win because that is when people are happiest”.
Navas: “We have to live for this shirt and show character”
“We have to get back up again because there are a lot of games left. When Zidane arrived everyone experience a different atmosphere. I think that we are doing things well, the side is not playing badly, and we aim to control games. We are all aware that La Liga is difficult, but we are Real Madrid and we have to keep going until the end”.
“The teammates that have been playing have more matchday intensity, although all the players are excellent”.
“We have to really feel this shirt and be proud. In life there are difficult moments where we have to go out and show character. The club’s name alone does not win you games and you have to battle for them. We are players at the best side in the world and have to show that out on the pitch”.
Cristiano Ronaldo: “We had more chances and deserved to win”
by Barbara Jimenez“We went for the game and on a counter attack they scored”, said Danilo.
Cristiano Ronaldo spoke to the media after the derby:”The explication is that we lost, we didn’t play how we wanted to, we didn’t mark, and Atlético had one chance and scored it. We played better but we haven’t scored. We had more chances and we deserved to win. La Liga was difficult and it’s become more difficult. We’ve still got the Champions League and we’re not going to give up”:
“We spoke in the changing room but that stays in there. When you loose it’s always difficult but we have to keep going, there’s a lot left. Zidane has given an optimistic message be cause he’s an optimistic person. He has given us confidence but it’s difficult loosing at home against Atlético. We played better than them but they were lucky to get the chance and score”.
The coaches work
Zidane can’t play, but in my opinion he’s doing a phenomenal job. He’s a very calm person, very optimistic and he’s making us better. You have to give him time and leave him alone”.
The fans are unhappy and so are we. We always want to win, but it’s not always possible. If we win the Champions League at the end of the season the fans will change their opinion. I’m still excited because the Champions League is still possible, but La Liga isn’t.
To win a competition so long, you have to have the bets players and we haven’t because of injuries. We are playing and we are good, but not the best. When you don’t have the best players like Bale, Pepe, Benzema or Marcelo it’s not easy to win a competition. This is our main problem this year”. Afterwards, Cristiano added: “I am referring to my fitness level, not level of play. I am no better than any of my teammates”.
I like playing with Karim and when he’s not hear it’s more difficult. When Bale or Marcelo aren’t here too. During the season it’s difficult if they’re not playing. This doesn’t mean that Danilo, who for me was the best on the field, Jesé, Kovacic or Lucas are not good, they are very good”.
Lots of players out
Bad luck with injuries? It could be. Preparation? If you speak about from the beginning, it could be, but I don’t know how to tell you why. Imagine having Messi, Neymar or Suárez always injured, Barcelona wouldn’t be where they are now. I don’t know the reason but it’s difficult to win a competition if the best players aren’t available”.
Danilo: We have to work to improve
We’re sad about the result. It wasn’t in our plans. We have to work hard to improve. I don’t think that the defeat was fair. We had chances and they have scored from one attack. It happens in football and we deserved better luck. They were sat back waiting, we went for the game and on a counter attack they scored”.
The role of the pitch
I’m always here to help the team, whether that’s on the left or on the right”.
Post-Match Social Media:
Thank you Toni.
I don’t currently have the capacity to address Cristiano’s comments on playing with the younger players since Benz and Bale are injured. I had my fill of arguing yesterday. Maybe I’ll address it later.
Our next match is Wednesday against Levante.