Real Madrid: 5 stars and 2 flops from an eventful January

Real Madrid, Eden Hazard, Vinicius Jr., Luka Modric (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Eden Hazard, Vinicius Jr., Luka Modric (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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A month that started with a major upset at hands of Getafe also included the season’s first title and two back-to-back comebacks against a stubborn Elche side. Real Madrid had an eventful January, to say the least. Los Blancos sit comfortably at the summit of LaLiga standings, four points clear of the closest competition, Sevilla.

Although four points seem comfortable, the last game against Elche should serve as a wake-up call to the league leaders. LaLiga is not at all a competition to be taken lightly and in fact, any side can beat any side in this competitive league.

January had its heroes and its flops. Some players made the most of the very limited opportunities but were too less to be included as a star of the month. One of them is Fede Valverde who scored a winner in the semifinal of the Supercopa and continued his love affair with Saudi Arabia.

Another player in the same category is Eden Hazard who scored a winner off the bench against Elche in the Copa to take Real Madrid into the quarterfinals. He also did pretty well in the month’s last game against Elche but misses out on this list narrowly. The same is the case with our young Brazilian winger, Rodrygo Goes, and our central defenders.

Here are the four stars and two flops from an eventful starting month of 2022.

Real Madrid’s Isco (Photo by Jose Jordan / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid’s Isco (Photo by Jose Jordan / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images) /

Star: AM Isco Alarcon

The veteran midfielder quietly made his mark in January after making two impact performances off the bench in the Copa del Rey. He scored in both and it was a welcome return to form for the Spaniard. It isn’t sure if the Spaniard’s future is with Real Madrid but these sort of clutch displays are helping his case for a move to a competitive club.

In the game against Alcoyano, he got a lucky goal but he played an important part in getting to the right place and putting pressure on the goalkeeper into committing that mistake. The goal which seemed like an own goal to me was finally credited to Isco. In the next game, the Spaniard was even more intelligent when he equalized for Los Blancos playing as the center-forward; after conceding the first goal in the first half of extra-time.

There were a couple of things Isco did right, firstly he managed to stay onside right in a poacher’s position in front of the goal. That is key to playing center-forward especially when your team desperately needs a goal. Second, he spotted Dani Ceballos’s pass/shot and the goalkeeper’s initial movement. He could thus, direct the ball in a different direction with a simple flick.

Apart from his goals, Isco’s overall game was impressive as well. He played for just 12 minutes in the game against Alcoyano completing all of his dribbles (4/4) and winning all of his duels (4/4). He had a lot more to play for against Elche. In 41 minutes he maintained a 94% passing accuracy and completed both his attempted long balls. He also won his side a free-kick, per SofaScore. He had three substitute appearances in LaLiga without having much to do. He did maintain a 100% passing accuracy in the league games against Valencia and Elche, per WhoScored.