Real Madrid: 4 stars and 2 flops from a disappointing February

Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid
Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid (Photo by Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Star: GK Thibaut Courtois

By far the best player of the month, Real Madrid’s goalkeeping ace Thibaut Courtois is in the form of his life. He is the best goalkeeper in the world based on his current form. He deserves so much more recognition than what he is getting at the moment. Courtois saved Real Madrid numerous times in February and if anyone else wins the player of the month, I’d lose my faith in the award.

He was one of the few Real Madrid players who didn’t deserve to be on the losing end of the Copa del Rey quarter-final against Athletic Club. He made a save in the opening minute against Granada and kept the clean sheet alive. He was then tested by Villarreal away from home and he again stood up to the challenge with big saves including one from his own teammate, Marcelo.

This was followed by an absolute masterclass away at Paris which included a penalty saved against an old nemesis, Lionel Messi. He had a less demanding day in office against Alaves but he had to be on his toes against Rayo Vallecano who didn’t spare a chance to attack. He ended his month with yet another masterclass away at Vallecas. The most important player for February and definitely the biggest star!

Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti
Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti (Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Flop: Manager Carlo Ancelotti

After the biggest star, it’s time to reveal the biggest flop. Uniquely, this time it isn’t a player rather it’s the manager Carlo Ancelotti who was the biggest flop for Real Madrid in February. The Italian manager drew in a lot of criticism and rightly so. He made some horrible calls this month and deserves to be leading the list of flops.

Ancelotti looks like a detached manager who just stands near the touchline hoping for his key players to come up clutch and win the game for him. So far, it has worked in favor of the Italian manager in LaLiga. But, he had to bite the dust in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

The game against PSG, especially, was absolutely embarrassing and I think it is right to blame Ancelotti for it. When fans celebrate the fact that Real Madrid lost that game because a 0-0 would only keep Ancelotti in the illusion that his tactics were working is a big sign that something is wrong.

Firstly, starting Asensio in games that would require the right-winger to do more than just shoot is a big mistake. I included the same in the things that Carlo Ancelotti should’ve known by now. Secondly, in games that call for more energy, Ancelotti is simply hesitant to trust his bench. The games against PSG and Athletic Club could’ve gone differently had Ancelotti made his changes earlier or started the right set of players. Forcing a half-fit Karim Benzema to action wasn’t wise either.

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Last but not the least, the familiar old foe, rotations. Ancelotti has been too rigid towards changing his preferred starting XI. As a result, we have already seen players like Vini Jr., Karim Benzema, and David Alaba face the effects of fatigue. It simply seems like the manager has learned nothing from his mistakes back in the 2014/15 season. I hope Carlo Ancelotti gets into the depth of these issues or else Real Madrid could be heading into darker times.