As the ball came across the box for Jesus Navas to cross, Gareth Bale ran back in injury time, to intercept and clear. This action perfectly summarised Real Madrid’s evening at one of La Liga’s toughest venues. After a chastening defeat to PSG midweek, Madrid’s galacticos dug deep to win against Sevilla. With the pressure mounting on the Frenchman, the Real Madrid players continue fighting for Zinedine Zidane.
Real Madrid Players Keep Fighting for Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid is a club where a crisis is never too far. One wouldn’t normally consider being second in the league a crisis. But at the Spanish side, merely winning is not enough. Zinedine Zidane and Florentino Perez have not been seeing eye to eye in a public feud that sees Jose Mourinho lined up to take over from the Frenchman. This is because of the disagreements between the men with regards to the club’s transfer strategy in the last transfer window. With Paul Pogba not entering the gates of the Bernabeau and Florentino Perez selling Keylor Navas against the wishes of his manager, the relationship seems at an all-time low.
Zinedine Zidane was promised to have a significant influence on the business conducted this summer. However, despite spending more than 300 million euros, the squad is not what Zidane would’ve liked. Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez both stayed at the club despite the coach wanting to move them on. No midfield reinforcements and only Eden Hazard being an improvement to the starting lineup left Madrid short in the opening stages of the campaign. Real remain undefeated in the league but the performances in the draws against Valladolid and Villareal were far from convincing. The defeat to PSG was perhaps the most embarrassing defeat Zidane has overseen over his two spells in charge. Disappointing performances and results lead to speculation that Zidane was a dead man walking at the Santiago Bernabeau and that Jose Mourinho is waiting in the wings to take over if and when the France legend is sacked.
The Performance and Result
Real Madrid had not won away at Sevilla since 2015. is never an easy venue to go to. And with Real looking so desperate against PSG, the record time European champions looked primed for another thumping at the hands of former coach- Julien Lopotegui. Zidane welcomed Sergio Ramos back into the side and the former Sevilla man showed how important he is for this side. He and Raphael Varane were the foundation on which this victory was achieved. Dani Carvajal played one of his best games in over a year. Ferland Mendy is starting to make the left-back berth his own. And Casemiro seemed to be at his imperious best as well. The defensive players were critical to this gritty performance away from home.
The attacking players deserve praise as well. It is pleasant to see attacking stars like Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez busting a gut to cover opposition full-backs right till the last minute. Gareth Bale in particular, looks like a player fighting to prove his worth once again. He tracked back all evening and even slotted in the pass to Carvajal who provided the assist for the only goal of the game. Karim Benzema continued his fantastic run of form in front of goal with his fifth league goal of the season. After a quiet first half, Eden Hazard also ran rings around opposition players, drawing fouls, as Real looked to hold onto the ball. James Rodriguez was intelligent on the ball and adapted brilliantly to his deeper role in midfield. Overall, it was the first time that Madrid had a working system in both attack and defence.
Despite the impressive result, Real can not relax. With Osasuna on Wednesday and the derby at the weekend, the Spanish giants face tough challenges all through September. However, they have Luka Modric, Isco and Fede Valverde back from injury. Zidane might want to rest a few players midweek. But he has to ensure that his side string together a third consecutive victory in the league. After all, despite all the negativity, Real sit second in the table, behind Athletic Club but only on goal difference. Jose Mourinho might have to wait a little longer as the Real Madrid players continue fighting for Zidane.