Real Madrid: 5 long-running problems the club must address this year

Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Being highly competitive in the Champions League

I don’t think anyone who looks at the players starting for Real Madrid’s attack truly believes in their hearts that this team is capable of winning the Champions League. If they do in 2021, then it will be because there is no actual dominant force in football like there was last season. Even finalists PSG and Bayern Munich are stumbling in their leagues.

That said, it is entirely realistic to expect Real Madrid – of all clubs – to do better than getting bounced out of the quarterfinals or the Round of 16. I don’t care who the other team is, how good they are, who is injured, or what was in the lasagna. The standards at this club are too high to be satisfied with an early exit for three straight years. That’s honestly laughable, considering how much money has been invested into this squad.

They need to beat Atalanta in the Round of 16 and whoever comes next in the quarterfinals. Real cannot be a joke in the Champions League anymore. After winning three straight and losing Cristiano Ronaldo, Los Blancos have looked like a joke in this competition. Let’s be honest, that’s exactly what we’re staring down. In 2018-2019, they were torn apart by Ajax. In 2019-2020, Pep Guardiola embarrassed them. And this year, they were nearly eliminated in the group stages because they could not get a point off Shakhtar Donetsk.

Again, we need to think about the long game with this club, but it’s not unfair to ask Los Merengues to win two ties in the Champions League knockout stages this season. When you have players like Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, and Sergio Ramos, that should be the expectation every single year.