On Wednesday, Real Madrid faced Tottenham Hotspur in a group stage match for the Champions League. The team, arguably one of the best in the world, was crushed 3-1 by the Spurs, the only saving grace was a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo.
For a team that is not used to losing, this is the second game in a row that it was defeated. On October 29, the Spanish Girona F.C. beat Madrid 2-1 in a game for La Liga, and this Wednesday saw Madrid demolished 3-1 by Tottenham.
Neither of Girona nor Tottenham is rated higher or has greater success stories than Real Madrid, but that is not to say that they are not commendable clubs. The Spurs, with strong leadership from manager Mauricio Pochettino, and with talent from players like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Harry Winks, and Christian Eriksen, amongst others, have created a formidable opposition this season. They have been able to thrash their opponents in the English Premier league and claim their way to the third position, and are warning European super-clubs like Madrid with their growing presence.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane took this defeat philosophically, saying, “You have to accept it. It was a hard defeat to take, but it was deserved too.” The latter part of this comment is in reference to Madrid’s poor play during the course of the game: defender Marcelo Vieira gave the ball away 29 times, midfielder Toni Kroos gave the ball away 40 times, and Madrid ran, on average, a kilometer less per player than did the Spurs.
Despite the underwhelming nature of this last game, it does not spell doom for the beloved Spanish team. Currently, Real Madrid has won 66 percent of its 2017-2018 season games, which is quite decent. (In comparison, at this point of the season last year, they had won 75 percent of their games, with no losses, and even this was not their best season). Furthermore, Real Madrid has managed to recover from similar situations before. Only last season, Ronaldo entered the Champions League quarterfinals with only two goals, but ended the competition has the top scorer, with 12 goals scored, and a Champions League victory in hand.
On the other hand, remedy is fully possible when players out with injury begin to return. Currently, Real Madrid is down forward Gareth Bale, goalkeeper Keylor Navas, defender Raphael Varane, and defender Dani Carvajal, but they may be back before the elimination games. There is a good chance Madrid will make the Round of 16, even if it is unlikely they will finish top of their group.
Tottenham, topping Group H of the Champions League, has already qualified for the Round of 16, as has its rival, Manchester United.
But as Ronaldo says, “It’s the end that counts, not the start.” There is definitely some truth to this, as evidenced by Ronaldo’s rise to top scorer only last year, despite his humble start. But despite this, Real Madrid can use a more coordinated defense and a more vibrant offense, which Zidane has promised fans he will ensure.
? Zidane: "We want to get back to winning ways and reverse this run of form now."
— Real Madrid C.F.?? (@realmadriden) November 4, 2017
Tomorrow, Real Madrid faces Las Palmas at Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, in a match for La Liga. Hopefully the team has recovered from their two-streak loss, and is ready to return stronger than ever.