Sometime before eight o’clock on Saturday afternoon, when the Real Madrid lineup For the game at Benito Villamarín against Betis, nobody could believe the name that appeared in the starting eleven: Luka Jovic. After a week of constant debates about whether the Whites should sign a nine or not and information about Zidane’s alleged null confidence in the Serbian, the coach surprised everyone by betting on the Slavic forward.
It was not, however, the first time that the French coach left everyone perplexed with his bet, your escort search for Karim Benzema It has not stopped since he took over the reins of the Madrid team a year and a half ago and the dance of names and even of the system has been constant. The confidence he has in his compatriot is absolute, but none of the many Madrid attackers has convinced Zizou to establish himself as the undisputed starter and the rotations have been constant during his leadership.
The call to fill that position, the one that Cristiano Ronaldo left when he left in 2018, was Eden Hazard, but injuries have prevented the Belgian from offering what is expected of him. Nor has his weight issues helped, as he himself has acknowledged, which made his first season in white a disappointing one. The Zidane’s trust in him is absolute, as evidenced by his ownership in Manchester against City in the Champions League in the most important game of last year, but for now without that almost blind faith has been reciprocated with good performance on the field (he has only scored one goal as a madridista).
The red devil is now doing his particular preseason while the League has already started two days ago for the whites. The objective is that, when Hazard is released in this campaign, his ankle is at 100% and his physical form is adequate. Until then, the Belgian midfielder will not play again.
Too there is a lot of caution with Marco Asensio, who spent almost a year without playing and is returning to the pitch with great caution despite that stellar return in which he scored as soon as he entered the field against Valencia. Some discomfort in his left knee caused him to be out of the squad of the Spanish team and the edema he suffers has meant that he has not made his debut this season yet. Zidane loves the football of the Balearic Islands, but he will have to be patient with him.
Without Hazard or Asensio and with Gareth Bale and James Rodríguez already out of the teamIt is time for young Brazilian talents to step forward. His presence in the team goes, however, in bursts. Performance of Vinícius Jr. was decisive in the achievement of the league title (great performance against Barcelona and in the return to the post-confinement competition) but later he did not play for a minute against City to general surprise. At the start of this campaign, he started at the premiere at the Reale Arena and later saw the whole game against Villamarín from the bench, something certainly disconcerting.
With Rodrygo Goes, the situation is similar. He has times in which he seems indisputable for Zidane and was in the starting eleven in the Etihad, but then he spends several meetings without going or summoned. Like Vinícius, he started at Anoeta and then did not take the field against Betis.
He Luka Jovic’s case is even more complex. Signed for 60 million last summer, he had very few minutes in his first year and his performance in them was very disappointing. He did not play anything against Real Sociedad despite the fact that Real Madrid needed to score and then against Betis he started with Zidane changing the scheme to a 4-4-2 with the Serbian next to Benzema backed by four midfielders. He didn’t have a great performance, but he forced Emerson out. Will you now start to have more minutes? Will he finally justify the high amount that the white club paid for him?
Real Madrid has another two nines. Mariano Díaz and Borja Mayoral They do not count for Zidane and they are looking for a way out … but the first scored against Barça last season and the second forced the decisive penalty against Betis, reopening the debate on whether they should not have a hole in the squad in the absence of signings this summer.
For now Mariano rejected a loan to Benfica and clings to the possibility of ending up convincing Zidane, while Mayoral wants to be sold to make money, but while taking advantage of the absence of the Hispanic-Dominican (who underwent appendicitis surgery a couple of weeks ago) to try to show that he may have A hole.
The presence in the team of a nine with Benzema is one of the big issues. The Frenchman, freed from goal responsibility, performs better when he plays with a pure attacker at his side. However, this forces the team to play 4-4-2, which closes the way to young people like Vinícius and Rodrygo and would force Hazard to change his position on the field when he fully recovers from his injury.
The last in discord is Lucas Vazquez, a man Zidane has always trusted even though it was for a limited role. Now injured, it is not expected that he will have a great weight in the team when he returns, although the Galician always ends up winning important minutes thanks to his effort and his commitment to the team.
Open on casting to accompany Karim Benzema, what seems clear is that, except for the Frenchman, there will be rotations in each game in the attack zone, at least until one of the great Madrid strikers takes a step forward in their performance.