Real Madrid: 5 biggest takeaways from the month of February

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, Nacho Fernandez
Real Madrid, Nacho Fernandez (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid owe a lot to Nacho

Real Madrid are usually in trouble when Sergio Ramos is out, especially in the Champions League. But they exorcised those demons on Wednesday night in Bergamo, holding Atalanta to no goals. Real were helped by an injury to Duvan Zapata and an early red card to Remo Freuler, but Nacho Fernandez and the Royal White defense were also fantastic.

Nacho looked like a man possessed. He was snapping into tackles with furious passion and prowling the park on a mission to destroy anything in his path. Nacho cut out any pass that looked dangerous and made no mistakes when slickly playing the ball through Atalanta’s early press. He even joined the attack when needed, aiming to provide the extra spark Ramos so often does.

In his last three starts, Nacho has recorded multiple interceptions, according to, and he led by example against Atalanta with four tackles.

Nacho’s emergence is a huge reason why Real Madrid have been able to pitch shutouts defensively despite missing Sergio Ramos. With all due respect to Eder Militao, who is a talented player in his own right, Nacho has fully grasped the No. 3 center back gig on the strength of his displays over the past month. It’s very reassuring to have him as an option.