Real Madrid: Three silver linings from El Clasico disaster

Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid was just embarrassed at home in El Clasico.

A 0-4 defeat at the hands of arch-rivals FC Barcelona is never a good thing, but it is not the end of the world quite yet. From start to finish, it was clear to see: Barca manager, Xavi, got the better of Carlo Ancelotti in every aspect.

Xavi picked a better team, had a better plan for his players, and the players exploited Real Madrid without Karim Benzema up top.

Despite the agonizing loss and the end of one of the longest win streaks over the Catalans, not all hope is lost and Los Blancos still have a lot to play for.

Real Madrid still has a healthy lead in La Liga

This is the first time Real Madrid has lost to Barcelona since March 2, 2019. It was the third-longest win streak the rivalry has ever seen and Real’s longest since 1962-1965.

And even after the loss at home, Real holds a nine-point advantage on second-place Sevilla and a 12-point lead over Barca. The fixtures to come are certainly difficult – the Champions League ongoing and trips to Atletico and Sevilla – but don’t quickly forget what this team has managed to this point in the campaign.

Before the loss Sunday, the team had lost twice in league play (the last time coming January 2 to Getafe) and had won four of the last five.

Real Madrid managed to defeat Atleti 2-0 and Sevilla 2-1 in the reverse fixtures. This team can and will rally after a loss like this in El Clasico.

This could be the catalyst for summer changes

Barcelona has been struggling since Lionel Messi left.

Dropping down to the Europa League and for much of the season languishing mid-table, the board made some drastic moves to overhaul the aging squad and brought in a new manager.

Real Madrid should look at them as an example and follow their lead. The club needs to add more players to the squad than just Kylian Mbappe. You cannot sign a young star like Mbappe and expect him to single-handily lead the club to every trophy.

We have seen time and again this year what happens when Karim Benzema is unable to play or unable to contribute like he has so many times. Vinicius Junior does not look comfortable enough to do it on his own – he would prefer to play off of and with Benz – and for some reason, Carlo Ancelotti does not trust another striker behind Karim.

Adding further depth to the aging midfield, targeting a starting right-back to replace Dani Carvajal, and more depth options are key this summer.

Now nobody can pretend Ancelotti is the guy

The manager may lead Real Madrid to the league title this season, but El Clasico and the first-leg against PSG have proven that Carlo cannot take this team to the heights they desire.

The manager is unwilling to rotate players no matter the match or how much a starter has played (look at Luka Modric and Vini for proof of this) and his inability to incorporate the youth academy talent is only hurting the team.

Ancelotti, instead of using his bench and keeping the formation similar to what it usually is,  elected to play Modric, Federico Valverde, and Toni Kroos in a false nine. Why?

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The older squad members are clearly wearing down with the high amount of use and the bench players are not getting a chance to get minutes or make a meaningful difference in important matches like El Clasico.

Ancelotti is too stubborn and has been outclassed tactically several times this season.