When Ajax on 17 december, when the draw for the eighth finals of the Champions League to be out of shape after Real Madrid were linked, there was cautious optimism among the Amsterdam fans. Now it seems ‘The Royal’ back in shape. How is the team doing?
“Real Madrid and the infinite crisis”, headlined sports Marca on January 7, a day after a 0-2 defeat against Real Sociedad, a new low was in a season that seemed to save for the hopelessly out of form after a season.
The defeat led to the hard words of Golden Ball-winner Luka Modric. “It is not a matter of bad luck more. We create a lot and fight there, but the ball is simply not there. There are plenty of reasons that explain why it is not running,” said the Croat.
In Spanish media, was the departure of star Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus as one of the main causes called. Also, it was concluded that, among others, full Marcelo is not the level of previously fetched and that asset Vinícius Júnior tekortkwam.
Coach Santiago Solari, in October, appointed to replace the dismissed Julen Lopetegui, initially seemed not the right man to Real a unit. He put names like Gareth Bale and Isco regularly on the sofa at the dertienvoudig Champions League winner, not everyone was understood.
Preview CL: “If it is not a massacre is for Ajax’
Real has reinvented itself’
Solari held on to his choices and his boldness led yet to a rising line. The former midfielder of ‘The Royal’ gave the players of the new generation as Vinícius, Lucas Vázquez and Sergio Reguilón the full confidence and that will pay slowly but surely.
After a number of good results followed more than a week ago, the real test is on a visit at FC Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. Earlier this season ended the competitieduel at the Nou Camp in a 5-1 defeat, but now it took Real a point to Madrid: 1-1.
The result against the archrival was for Spanish media following to speak of a turnaround. “Under Solari is Real has succeeded in reinventing itself, forgetting the past and without Ronaldo again recognizable,” ran Marca.
“There is now a sense of a new Real Madrid, that are ever better seems to be and able to battle with Barcelona and the other competitors.”
Jolly Santiago Solari during the press conference in the run-up to Ajax-Real Madrid. (Photo: ProShots)
‘We have to see how it unfolds against Ajax’
Also El Mundo Deportivo, mainly, when the news about Barcelona, noted a distinct change in Real. The newspaper remained a bit more cautious and qualify for the Champions League duels with Ajax as following tests.
“It is clear that the team was now of a level that is many times higher than 3,5 month ago, when it was still 5-1 was lost in Camp Nou. Already showed this Real not the class that some in the run up to the duel expected”, was there to read.
“We will have to wait and see how it unfolds in the return against Barcelona and in the double encounter with Ajax in the Champions League to the current performance in a particular perspective.”
Last 7 matches for Real Madrid
- Real Madrid-Sevilla 2-0
- Real Madrid-Girona 4-2
- Espanyol-Real Madrid 2-4
- Girona-Real Madrid 1-3
- Real Madrid-Alavés 3-0
- FC Barcelona-Real Madrid 1-1
- Atlético Madrid-Real Madrid 1-3
Victory in derby is new confirmation
The final test before the duel with Ajax in the Johan Cruijff ArenA was Saturday a new confirmation that Real is on the right path, for competitor and fellow-townsman Atlético Madrid was convincing with 1-3 cast aside.
Again Vinícius, Vázquez and Reguilón basisspelers in the 4-3-3 formation, supported by experienced resources, if Modric, Sergio Ramos, Toni Duckweed and Karim Benzema. Bale, Isco and Marcelo were again on the bank.
Marca: “The tie at the Nou Camp, the victory in the derby and conquer the second place in the competition provide for a further increase of the confidence and a certain fear in the opponent. That is the feeling that now in Estadio Santiago Bernabéu predominates. Even the biggest pessimists.”
Ajax-Real Madrid begins Wednesday at 21.00 hours. The achtstefinaleduel in the Johan Cruijff ArenA is led by the Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.
Watch the program in the Champions League