Real Madrid: The 5 players in the club’s ‘leadership group’

Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid have a squad full of national team captains and experienced Champions League winners.

There’s a reason why Real Madrid respond so well under pressure. They have not lost to Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in their last seven meetings against either club since the start of the 2019-2020 season.

When Los Blancos played “final” after “final” this summer en route to the league title, they never once faltered. And this season, Real responded to a crisis after a 2-0 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk by winning six straight, including clean sheet victories over Borussia Monchengladbach, Atletico Madrid, and Sevilla.

Quality aside, what makes Real Madrid so resilient under pressure is the sheer number of great leaders this team has. Sergio Ramos is the captain and the lion-hearted center back who sets the tone in so many ways, but he isn’t the only one whose voice weighs heavily.

According to MARCA’s Jose Felix Diaz, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Casemiro, Luka Modric, and now Toni Kroos are the five men who comprise a “leadership group” of players in the Real Madrid dressing room. Kroos is the newest addition, but as the German national team captain and a world-class, serial Champions League winner whose composure helps Real control the biggest games, he’s not out of place on this list at all.

That’s quite the handful of players for Zinedine Zidane to lean on as locker-room leaders, and that’s not even counting other guys like Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, and Lucas Vazquez who command respect in the building as long-time Madridistas who have won it all.

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It’s great to hear that Kroos is in the ranks of the big leaders, and it’s also wonderful to read in the report that this group of players spoke up and gave Zidane the advice that they should lean on the main starters for the important spell of matches after Shakhtar instead of rotating so heavily. That trust in the tried-and-true old guard as led Real to come out of the other side of the crisis even stronger than before.