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, Rodrygo Goes
Real Madrid, Rodrygo Goes (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

The injury returns at forward could not come any sooner

Real Madrid’s undefeated February is made all the more impressive by the way Zinedine Zidane and his squad navigated injuries. Lesser teams and fanbases would spend their days crying about how unfair it all is, but in Madrid, complaining is a death sentence. If you complain, you’re out. It’s that simple. There is no room for excuses. Logical explanations? Acceptable. Struggling in the midst of the injuries? Fine, we understand. But a “woe is me” routine? That doesn’t fly around here. So credit to this team for putting their heads down and winning at all costs.

Still, those absences loomed large. Not having Karim Benzema against Atalanta and Real Valladolid was a huge struggle, as you’d expected since he has 12 goals and only one other player, defensive midfielder Casemiro, has five this season in La Liga. The injuries to Eden Hazard and Rodrygo Goes have not helped the front line either, putting a lot of stress on Marco Asensio and the still-growing Vinicius Junior. Then we have Dani Carvajal, whose injury at right back has precluded Lucas Vazquez from being an option on the right wing in place of the struggling Asensio.

All of those players should be back soon. By the time Real Madrid play against Atalanta in the second leg of the Round of 16 at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, all three of Real’s ideal starting forward group – Benzema, Hazard, and Rodrygo – should be healthy and ready to go.

That’s going to be a huge boost for Zidane, because a team can only grind out results with a sub-optimal squad for so long before it unravels.