Real Madrid: The Ups and Downs from a humiliating loss to Valencia

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Marcelo
Real Madrid, Marcelo (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images) /


I just want to put this out there: I love Marcelo. I love the guy for everything he has done for the club. I respect him a lot. He’s one of the greatest fullbacks to have ever lived. But, as I and so many others have pointed out in so many articles in the past, Marcelo has declined a lot. I really do not think that he deserves to even start for Real Madrid now. You can’t convince me to believe otherwise.

Lapses of concentration, not tracking his man, being wildly out of position, losing the pace in his legs, offensive regressions. All of this and so many more imperfections make every Madrid fan nervous whenever Marcelo starts a game for the club, no matter what opposition. His offensive production doesn’t make up for his defensive instabilities anymore, which makes Mendy the far more obvious choice.

This is why I would’ve preferred to see a young left-back as the back up for Ferland, which would’ve resulted in Marcelo leaving the club. I really don’t think I’d ever not be nervous when Marcelo starts. The fact that in all the league losses since Zidane’s return, Marcelo has featured in the lineup – and Mendy hasn’t – gives you a lot to think about.

I’m not putting all the blame on him, but he deserves his fair share of criticism. He gave away a penalty in the game, but also was partly to blame for the third penalty. He wasn’t tracking his man, Musah, and Ramos was forced to go up against him.


Casemiro tested positive a couple of days before the game, so he wasn’t available for the game. That left Zidane no option but to start with a double pivot. Normally, that should’ve gotten the job done. Luka Modric and Fede Valverde started in the midfield, but Zidane’s decision to start Marcelo over Mendy in a game where there was no Casemiro honestly baffled me. You already know Marcelo isn’t going to defend.

Lucas Vazquez, (who struggled a lot against Gaya in the match) for some reason always tended to shift to the middle rather than staying on the right to provide overlapping runs, which seemed like Zidane’s way of overloading the side of the ball. Varane and Ramos (when he didn’t make his usual darting runs in the box) were the only ones defending.

The plan went out of the window when Real Madrid conceded the third, and even Ramos was higher up the pitch. Starting Mendy should’ve been the easiest decision in a game where you already don’t have Casemiro. This one’s on Zidane.