36 minutes was all it took…
Another massive game, most players fit to play, Gareth Bale recently returned from injury, James Rodriguez begging for more playing time, Isco possibly on the form of his life, Mateo Kovacic continuously impressing when on the pitch, Marco Asensio showing capabilities that should be illegal for a man his age… All was perfectly poised for Zinedine Zidane to start with a bullet-proof lineup as he yet again has chosen to start with the BBC.
Before continuing here, it is important to note my trust to Zidane, which he has earned and should have earned from many Madridistas so far. As a new manager, the Frenchman has produced wonders and no one can say otherwise. I have always done my very best to refrain from criticism because, usually, he comes out with the goods. I do have one major problem and that lies within his insistence to come out with the BBC whenever they are fit and it’s clear that this is simply not working as well as it once used to.
When you have players who cost as much as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, it’s difficult not to play them. That’s an argument that I heard time and time again but since when was money more important than form?! James Rodriguez has been warming up the bench all season yet he cost us 80 million. On the other side, you have Marco Asensio who has been in form and impressed us time and time again but he cost 3 million. It happens. The transfer fee of a player should not give him invincibility.
Now, Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t have the greatest game against Barcelona but at least he has shown us all exactly why he deserves to be a starter with his recent form. Gareth Bale was a disastrous choice from the beginning! For a player who consistently suffers from injuries having just come back from yet another problem, it makes no sense to have his name on the lineup. When you have exceptional players such as Isco and Marco Asensio fully fit, what right does Bale have to start ahead of them?
Is Gareth Bale the reason we lost El Clasico? No. Lionel Messi as well as some other details made the game end the way it did. Having said that, starting him should have never been an option especially when given the fact that he has just returned from injury and, as I mentioned earlier, there are extremely suitable replacements.
36 minutes was all it took… Gareth Bale was seen on the grounding holding his leg and indicating to the medical team that he will not be able to continue. On the sidelines, you can see Zidane giving Marco Asensio some very quick instructions for him to warm-up and replace the injured Welshman. A couple minutes later, the substitution was made.
This isn’t an argument that one player is better than the other but rather it is a question of common sense. One thing that I have been extremely against is how there are certain players that are apparently untouchable. If the BBC is ready to compete, they automatically get the nod? Then where is the motivation for the other players to try and take their chances? What happened to form? I genuinely believed that Zidane would be the man to finally change that and actually give players the chances if they deserve it, which could be argued that he has done a couple times but definitely nowhere near enough.
It happened with Mateo Kovacic and it’s currently happening with Isco/Marco Asensio. How long until we can have a team that plays due to form and not reputation? This cannot keep happening.
All it took was 36 minutes for Zinedine Zidane to realize the mistake and, if Bale had not gotten injured, I bet he would have lasted until around the 60-minute mark before a change would have been made.
Personally, I still support Zidane 100% and hope that he continues with us no matter what happens between now and the end of the season but change will be needed. It is a change that he can easily provide but he will need the balls to do so.
Now, we continue our focus on La Liga with an away game against Deportivo La Coruna coming up. I expect Isco and Asensio to play but it all depends on Zidane, I guess. Either way, a massive 3 points are at stake once again.
Hala Madrid y Nada Mas.