Real Madrid: 3 players who need to improve after the November break

Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Real Madrid, Raphael Varane
Real Madrid, Raphael Varane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Raphael Varane

While I do not think Raphael Varane has been close to as bad as what some fans are saying, I have to admit that he has been below his standard in 2020-2021.

That standard is a lofty one. Varane has been regarded as one of the absolute best center backs in the world for years, including last season. He, like many of his teammates, bounced back from a terrible 2018-2019 season. Varane was arguably Europe’s best defender in 2019-2020, playing a crucial role in Real Madrid finishing with the best defense in terms of goals allowed among all clubs in Europe’s top five leagues.

This season, Varane has been ordinary. He is leading the team in interceptions per game, but some of the decisions he’s made defensively have been uncharacteristically poor. Varane was a nightmare against Shakhtar Donetsk, failing as a leader of the back line with Sergio Ramos out. He and Eder Militao made mistake after mistake.

And then against Valencia, Varane added a dash of embarrassment to his pre-December start to the 2020-2021 campaign with a hilarious – just not for Madridistas – own goal. It was truly a bizarre move and decision from Varane.

While Varane has been above-average by the standards of any defender, a starting center back at Real Madrid isn’t measured to the standards of an average defender. More specifically, a player of Varane’s caliber isn’t measured to others. Fans, as they should, measure Varane up to the standard he has set for himself. And in comparing Varane to even the version we saw last year, we see that the star center back is underperforming.

Next. Real Madrid's 5 Most Valuable Players Of The Last Decade. dark

Real Madrid need him to be at his best, because the attack isn’t getting any better and the defense has serious question marks whenever the starting fullbacks are out. Varane has to step up as a leader and superstar player. It’s frustrating when he has an off game, because there are a lot of people who conveniently forget he is a generational talent at center back. Varane needs to remind them all of that fact after the November break.