Real Madrid: 5 burning questions from a lethargic loss to Levante

Real Madrid, Mariano Diaz (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Mariano Diaz (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

How can Zinedine Zidane trust anyone but the old guard?

Real Madrid need to give more opportunities to younger players in order for the club to make forward progress and for their young talent to develop into future starters. The problem is that Florentino Perez hasn’t given Zinedine Zidane a clear sign that he can actually go through with a youth project without getting fired at the first sign of trouble. Because, well, whenever Real have stumbled for a few matches, Zidane’s felt the heat.

The “old guard” is comprised of the likes of Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Karim Benzema, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Nacho Fernandez, Lucas Vazquez, and Luka Modric. These are the stars. They have been there, done that as far as trophies go. When Zidane is in trouble, like in that final Champions League fixture vs. Borussia Monchengladbach, these are his go-to guys. And more often than not, they deliver for the French manager.

Alvaro Odriozola, Vinicius Junior, Mariano Diaz, and Eder Militao are the outsiders. They aren’t bad footballers, and a couple of them have a chance to develop into good players who could start for a club like Real Madrid. But right now, they are unreliable. Odriozola is a mistake-machine on defense. Militao is excellent 90 percent of the time but makes errors the other center backs do not. Mariano works hard but is not quite talented enough. Vinicius is talented enough but makes youthful errors, and the response to those errors has seemingly hurt his confidence.

Next. Real Madrid vs. Levante Player Ratings. dark

Zidane surely wants these players to earn their stripes and get better, but how can he afford to play them when we see results like this one against Levante or the bigger disgrace at Alcoyano a few weeks ago? You have to empathize with the manager, whose players aren’t quite ready to meet the expectations at such a prestigious and pressurized club.