Real Madrid: 5 burning questions after horrid loss to Valencia

Real Madrid (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Raphael Varane
Real Madrid, Raphael Varane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Is it time to stop praising Lucas Vazquez?

Injuries to Dani Carvajal and backup right backs Alvaro Odriozola and Nacho Fernandez meant that Lucas Vazquez became the starting right back despite being a right winger by trade. Vazquez was exceptional against Barcelona, entering the game as a substitute for Nacho. He shut down Lionel Messi and added a lot to the attack in the 3-1 win.

Although Vazquez had more ups-and-downs after his exceptional Clasico, he still looked like a good emergency solution at right back. But against Valencia, Vazquez was horrendous, surrendering a penalty and genuinely looking atrocious in the attack.

Vazquez committed some embarrassing errors in possession, and that led to more frustration from Madridistas. While Vazquez has done some nice things at an uncomfortable position, it’s obvious that he’s no real solution there. Odriozola’s return cannot come soon enough, as Carvajal will need to miss more time than him.

When will Raphael Varane return to his best?

Raphael Varane’s had a decent 2020-2021 season so far for Real Madrid, but “decent” doesn’t really cut it for a player of his caliber. Whenever Varane steps onto the pitch, fans expect greatness from THE most decorated defenders of his generation.

We haven’t seen Varane at that level since the 2019-2020 season. He bounced back from his poor performance at Manchester City, but he’s also been more up and down than fans would like. Varane was dreadful against Shakhtar Donetsk, for example, and he committed an embarrassing own goal in another subpar performance at the Mestalla.

Real Madrid need Varane at their best. This team needs to be lifted by the defense, because the attackers aren’t good enough. We have to be honest there. Last season, Real had the best defense in Europe, buoyed by Varane, who was their best player defensively. This season, they can’t keep a clean sheet. Varane needs to step up. He hasn’t been bad, but that’s a low bar to set. Varane needs to be GREAT.