Real Madrid Carlos Carpio’s opinion
Two months ago, it was a pleasure to play againstReal Madrid, even at theEstadio Santiago Bernabeu.Real Valladolidmanaged to take a point off them, andLevantealmost came back from 3-0 down asZinedine Zidane‘s side played cagey, comfortable football. It was a Real Madrid you could beat, even though they had high-calibre players. Every opponent knew they would get chances and it was a question of taking them. ThatReal Madridconceded frequently.
Two months later, it’s changed. In a difficult place to go like theEstadio de Mendizorroza, in the cold and the rain,Los Blancoscontinued their run of good form and put themselves on the map as determined and hopeful title contenders. They did all this withoutFede Valverde, the driving force behind this revitalisedReal Madridside.Zidane‘s men accepted the challenge laid down to them by a physicalAlavesteam and they ran out as winners in what was an energetic battle. WithIsco,Toni KroosandLuka Modricall in the line-up, the hosts struggled to get hold of the ball. In attack, in the absence ofEden Hazardwas not aided by the disappearance ofGareth Balein Vitoria on Saturday, but the movement ofKarim BenzemaandIscogenerated uncertainty in theAlavesdefence. Two defenders,Sergio RamosandDani Carvajal, broke down theMendizorrozafortress where, up until this game,Asier Garitano‘s side had conceded just twice this season.
This new forceful and committedReal Madridperformance came just four days after a free-flowing, entertaining display againstParis Saint-Germain.Los Blancosdidn’t surrender at any moment on Saturday, not even whenAlavesscored their equaliser. Two months ago, this goal would’ve been costly; now, it’s not.Real Madriddidn’t lose their heart as they worked twice as hard and found their winner throughCarvajal. The hosts had five corners in an eight-minute spell afterwards but couldn’t breakReal Madriddown.Eder Militaoalso proved that he can be the quality third centre-back thatReal Madridhave been lacking sincePepe‘s exit. The Brazilian, who is very similar to the Portuguese in the way he plays, deserves more opportunities.