As the second set of the round of 16 fixtures of the Champions League come closer, the most successful team in the history of the competition faces a mountain of problems. Real Madrid are amongst the elite teams that are never counted out and always make their way into being title challengers. But in a season with congested fixtures and an ongoing pandemic, the problems of Los Blancos have kept increasing.
A depleted squad, which is further troubled by lack of squad depth; as such that Real have had only a single day this season with all the first team players fully fit. Key players including captain Sergio Ramos, top scorer Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard are among notable injuries which dampen the fans’ hopes of a win.
Right-back Dani Carvajal has been an integral part of the team for a long time but has struggled with injuries this season and had to be subbed off in the first half of the match against Valencia. Zinedine Zidane has not shown much trust in the inconsistent Odriozola who was supposed to be second choice right-back. Instead, he has gone for a makeshift option in Lucas Vazquez who has once again proved his versatility and utility in the club.
Real Madrid are the best club in the premier competition’s history. But can they tough it out again?
Academy players have been called up for the upcoming round of 16 fixture against Atalanta who will be high on spirits after a 4-2 win at Napoli this week. Youngsters like Hugo Duro, Sergio Arribas will be hoping to make the most of this golden chance on their hands.
Despite major injuries, the Galacticos have no shortage of quality in the team with their three-peat-winning midfield trio in great form as well as their defense. Nacho has stepped up in the absence of talisman Ramos, but it is just a matter of time before the gulf in impact is visible in games. Keeper Thibaut Courtois has again been in splendid form this season and is leading the charts in La Liga for the most number of clean sheets as well.
Overall Real still might be able to put up a strong starting eleven on paper but without their major outlets, the fear of an unfavorable result cannot be ruled out either. But as the club has shown from time to time- never count Real Madrid out.
Image Credit- Real Madrid CF Twitter