Real Madrid: 5 burning questions from the 1-0 win over Atalanta

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images) /

Why did Real Madrid take Vinicius Junior out first?

Real Madrid made the curious decision to substitute Vinicius Junior before either Isco or Marco Asensio, even though he was the most effective of the trio in the first half. Zinedine Zidane decided to bring on Mariano Diaz, which made sense, since Real were desperate for a goal and Mariano is their only true striker. But for Vini? It was a harsh decision on the 20-year-old, to be honest, considering he was the main man trying in the attack.

And the decision didn’t really pay off. Real Madrid won, but Zidane still had to sub off Marco Asensio and Isco for Sergio Arribas and Hugo Duro of Castilla before Los Blancos found the winning goal via Ferland Mendy’s unrelated moment of brilliance.

Vinicius did a good job in this match. He didn’t necessarily blow us away or change the game, but he stepped up when none of the other forwards truly did. Vini was always working hard defensively, trying to make things happen on the ball, and winning free kicks with his one-on-one dribbles against an overmatched Rafael Toloi. And it was his quick pass to Ferland Mendy that drew the red card from Freuler early on.

I have been impressed with Vini’s performances ever since the 2-1 over Huesca. He is playing with more confidence on the ball, and he’s done so much more than the man across from him in the formation, Asensio, off the ball. I don’t get why Vini gets more criticism for decision-making than Asensio, and I cannot fathom why he was subbed first.