“Forza Madrid!”

Real Madrid’s all-Italian journey to sign their new manager

Photo credits: Diario Gol

By Daphne Seberich

Real Madrid was in desperate need of a new manager. Zinedine Zidane’s premature departure announced on May 27th, 2021 has left Florentino Pérez without a plan for the future of the most successful football team in the world. Massimiliano Allegri, Antonio Conte, and Carlo Ancelotti are Real Madrid’s top choices to replace the Frenchman. 

The breakup between the two sides was already asked for by the fans after the embarrassing defeat against CD Alcoyano in the Copa Del Rey match played on January 20th, 2021. #ZizOut was a trending topic on Twitter. Florentino, as reported by Marca, was already in contact by then with his number one choice: Massimiliano Allegri. 

The two parties were in close contact throughout the whole second half of the season. The Italian manager has brought Juve to international success during his four years at the ‘Vecchia Signora’, reaching two times the Champions League final – one lost against Real Madrid. Even though he was one of the main reasons for Juve’s success in Italy, the club’s management decided to drop the manager after four years of dominance with the team. 

Photo credits: Mundo Deportivo

Allegri was about to sign with Real Madrid, with major news outlets confirming the Italian as the chosen one by Florentino Pérez to take over the Merengues. Little did Florentino know that his Superleague ally Andrea Agnelli was negotiating to have his beloved Max back at the ‘Vecchia Signora’. 

On the day of Zinedine Zidane’s announcement to part ways with the 13-time champions one year prior to the end of his contract in 2022, shocking news arrived from Italy: Allegri was moving back to Turin. 

There was not just bad news coming from Italy for Real Madrid’s president. Just one day prior to the shocking announcement, another surprise breakup came from Milan’s black-and-blue side. Antonio Conte, the manager that ended Juventus’ nine-year dominance and brought Inter to success after eleven seasons, parted ways with the ‘Nerazzurri’ after only two together. The win of the coveted ‘Scudetto’ was not enough to convince Conte to stay in Milan for another year. 

Photo credits: Corriere dello Sport 

Conte was previously linked to Real Madrid in 2018, but Lopetegui was preferred to the Italian manager. Captain Sergio Ramos spoke out against Conte’s arrival, as the Apulian manager is famous for being a tough man to work with. His methods, although being harsh at times, are the key to his success as a trainer. Conte knows how to win. Every club he managed has won trophies under his management.

Real Madrid needed Conte now more than ever. After the low-blow move by Agnelli and Allegri, Conte seems to be the best fit for a team in desperate need to be revamped and redesigned. 

The Apulian, according to Don Balon, has four requests for Florentino Pérez: N’Golo Kanté, Lautaro Martinez, Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku

The latter has been a key player at Inter and has a great bond with Conte. Inter, who is in a critical financial situation due to Covid, might consider selling Big Rom to Los Blancos. If Florentino could have secured those four names for the next season, the Apulian would have been ready to sign a two-year deal with the Madridistas. 

Real Madrid and Conte’s ex-team played against each other in the group stage of the 2020/2021 Champions League campaign. How did Conte do against Los Blancos during their encounter in Milan? 

Photo credits: Inter.it

The first minutes of the match would indicate a high-paced, high-intensity game. The Blancos were putting a lot of pressure right from the get-go with multiple threatening attempts in the first seven minutes. Inter fought back with Nicolò Barella, Lautaro, and Arturo Vidal, who all missed the target.

The ‘Nerazzurri’ saw Karim Benzema opening the scoresheet for Real Madrid on the 25th minute of the match. The Frenchman stood alone in front of Samir Handanovič, who was well outside his penalty area, with only Inter’s empty goal ahead.

Sergio Ramos, served from a corner shot by the German Toni Kroos, made it 2-0 for the Madridistas and hit the back of the net with a header in the 33rd minute of the match. The advantage didn’t last too long as Inter bounced back with an incredible Lautaro kicking the ball into Thibaut Courtois’s left-bottom corner of his goal. 

Ivan Perišić revived and rekindled Inter at the 68th minute of the game with a brilliant goal that tied the two teams. Newly-entered Rodrygo Goes, although, sealed the deal for Real at the 80th minute of the game. 

Photo credits: Fichajes.com

Even though Conte did not beat Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage, he still has done a great job with Inter during the 2020/2021 season. 

Finally, Real Madrid opted to rekindle an old flame. Carlo Ancelotti, who has bounced to the top of Florentino’s list on Tuesday is joining the Blancos after six years of absence. During his two seasons at the Madrid-based club, the Italian’s major achievement was the ‘Decima’, the tenth Champions League victory in Lisbon for Real Madrid. He is also the Real Madrid manager who has recorded the highest percentage of wins (78%) in his first 100 games at the club.

Photo credits: Getty Images

Real Madrid fans are excited to see what’s next in store for the club. Can Carlo Ancelotti bring the Madridistas back to success?

Benzema keeps Real Madrid’s ‘Road to Istanbul’ dream alive 

Karim Benzema keeps the Madridistas alive in the battle for the Champions League finals with a volley in the 29th minute of the match played at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano against Chelsea. 

Photo credits: Goal.com & Fran Santiago for Getty Images

By Daphne Seberich

It was an exciting and even match of Champions League semi-finals between Real Madrid and Chelsea at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, which ended in a 1-1 tie. Christian Pulišić and Real’s Pichichi Karim Benzema both made it onto the scoresheet, but their goals were not enough to secure the win for their clubs.  

Los Blancos managed to keep their unbeaten streak going and added one tally to their 17 matches undefeated in all competitions. The Madridistas fought their way back from 0-1 to a draw to secure an advantage ahead of the tie in West London on Wednesday next week. Zinedine Zidane’s team has to win the match at Stamford Bridge with one goal difference to keep their dream of the 14th Champions League title alive. 

Zinedine Zidane surprised everyone when he announced the lineup ahead of the match. The Frenchman opted for three center-backs in defense, with Marcelo and Dani Carvajal playing as wing-backs respectively on the left and right. Vinícius Jr. was preferred to Marco Asensio at the front alongside Benzema for the starting eleven.

Photo credits: UEFA Champions League

In the first minutes of the match, Chelsea was the team capable of pressing their opponents in their half and creating scoring chances. Ex-Red Bull Leipzig superstar Timo Werner, who transferred to Chelsea in last summer’s transfer session, had some good opportunities to score the advantage. 

It was American Christian Pulišić who brought the Blues ahead. He was the first to make it onto the scoresheet at the 14th minute. The Pennsylvania native, served by a perfectly calibrated cross by Antonio Rüdiger, rifled a shot, which deflected off Raphaël Varane’s back into the goal. Courtois, who was well outside of his posts, couldn’t prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net. Pulišić made it into the Champions League books as the first American to score a goal in the competition’s semi-final stage. 

Video credits: UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid, who until then were suffering multiple attacks from the Blues, fought back with Benzema hitting the woodwork of Mendy’s goal at the 23rd minute. The Frenchman’s shot glanced off the right post. This action revived the Madridistas’ spirits, who went ahead to put great pressure on the Blues. 

The breakthrough came on the 29th minute for the Merengues. A short-played corner kick led Marcelo to cross into the box. Casemiro and Éder Militão kept the ball alive with their headers until finally serving Benzema, who drew the score level with a brilliant volley. The Frenchman oozes talent and is one of the players Zidane can trust over and over again. 

Photo credits: Real Madrid C. F.

In the second half, the pace dropped considerably compared to the exciting and eventful first 45 minutes. The Madridistas regained control over matters, pressing high and preventing Chelsea from breaking deep into their half of the pitch. 

The hosts, although, couldn’t break away and score the advantage. Coach Zidane decided to bring on ex-Chelsea forward Eden Hazard, who played for the first time against his former team, for Vinícius Júnior. Álvaro Odriozola and Marco Asensio followed shortly after, respectively replacing Carvajal and Marcelo. 

Photo credits: UEFA Champions League

Zidane’s changes in the second half didn’t deliver and brought little to no spark to the team. The Madridistas had to settle for a draw ahead of the return leg in West London at Stamford Bridge, leaving the outcome of this semi-finals still wide open. 

Real Madrid will have to attack and not concede on Wednesday next week to make it through to Istanbul’s final. The trip to Ataturk Stadium is only one game away for the Madridistas. Can they raise the Champions League trophy for the 14th time in their history?

The race to the league title is still on

Real Madrid equalized against neighbors down south Getafe, dropping two precious points towards the title race against Atlético Madrid and Barcelona. They are still in contention, being only three points behind the latter. 

Photo credits: Real Madrid C.F. & Marca

By Daphne Seberich 

Real Madrid are still unbeaten in the last 15 games. That’s how Zinedine Zidane and the Madridistas would sell it. Nevertheless, the Blancos drew at the Colosseum Alfonso Pérez in a very tight game against Getafe, where the countless absences on the pitch were hard-felt. 

Zidane had to reshuffle for the ninth time in the last nine games his lineup. Injuries and suspensions stood in the way of picking the ideal 11 to maximize points against their neighbors down south. Real Madrid was without a defense. Casemiro and Toni Kroos were missed in the midfield. Not even the Merengues’ Pichichi Karim Benzema could overcome the difficulties of the match.

What sealed the Madridistas fate was a questionable offside decision after a brilliant goal scored by forward Mariano. In the early doors of the match, the Brazilian kicked the ball to the back of the net for Real Madrid’s advantage. Referee José Maria Sanchez Martinez’s decision after the VAR consultancy with José Luis Munuera Montero was detrimental to the match’s outcome for the Whites. 

Photo rights: LaLiga

The image shown during the game to determine the offside was, although, proven to be controversial. The chosen frame that determined Mariano’s goal as invalid showed the ball already in motion. It had already left Éder Militão’s boot. Fran Martinez (@LaLigaenDirecto), who analyzes LaLiga’s VAR and referee decisions, claimed that the previous frame, with the ball still untouched by the Brazilian, would have depicted Mariano in a legal position. 

The highly defending team Getafe played mostly in their half of the pitch. For them, drawing against Real Madrid was already an accomplishment. It’s been three years since the ‘Azulones’ have scored against the Whites. Both parties had numerous chances to score the advantage goal, but no one managed to finalize it. 

Eres Unal of Getafe had a chance in the second half of the match but was neutralized by resilient Thibaut Courtois. He was then called into duty by a late attempt by Nemanja Maksimović that was cleared by the Belgian over the crossbar. 

Video rights: LaLiga

Real Madrid was clearly the strongest team in the last five minutes of the game and were hoping to come out on top to maximize points. The neighbors, although, held the Madridistas in check to earn a share of potential points.

Courtois voiced some of his thoughts after the match: “Now is not the time to moan about injuries – you have to show your face. We’re a bit disappointed by the draw, but it’s not easy with so many games. We were up against Getafe, which is a tough place to go, on a very dry pitch. It was difficult to move the ball about. With so many injuries, you can’t rotate as much and you’re a bit at your limit, but we don’t think much about it. We have to recover well, rest well… that’s the only way.” 

Video rights: Real Madrid TV

Real Madrid will face Cádiz on Wednesday to attempt to match Atlético Madrid in the standings. 

Resilience at its best

Real Madrid’s top shape period continues with a successful draw against Liverpool. The Blancos move on to the next stage of the 2020/2021 Champions League competition. 

Photo credits: Real Madrid C.F.

By Daphne Seberich

Real Madrid are back in the semi-finals. For the eighth time in the last ten years, the Blancos are on track to raise the trophy with the big ears for the 14th time in their history. A brilliant first leg allowed the Merengues to fly to England with a significant advantage over their British competitors. The draw at Anfield against Liverpool was enough for the Madridistas to make it through to the last four of the 2020/2021 Champions League competition. 

Strikers Vinicius Jr. and Marco Asensio determined the fate of their team when it mattered the most, punishing Alisson with three goals during the first leg of the quarter-finals. The Madrid-based team is definitely on a high, coming from a 3-1 triumph at the Alfredo Di Stéfano against Liverpool and a 2-1 win against their rivals Barcelona at the almighty Clásico

Thibaut Courtois was a crucial asset for the Merengues. The Belgian proved to be in superb shape, impeding Liverpool to score an advantage. A particular moment in the match between the two giants of football was an incredible save by the Blancos’ goalkeeper. Courtois neutralized a dangerous attempt by Salah when he stroked the ball away from his goal with his left foot with incredible class and elegance.  

Photo credits: David Klein for REUTERS

Soon after, the Belgian goalkeeper had to perform another big save against James Milner. It was clear that the Reds would not leave the Champions League without giving a proper fight to the Blancos, especially at Anfield. The Madridistas’ efforts, although, were superior and allowed them to remain untouched for the first half of the match.

Benzema came close to putting the definitive nail in Liverpool’s coffin. A brilliant solo effort from the Real Madrid striker, who already scored a “work of art” goal at the Clásico the weekend before, almost put the Blancos ahead. The on-target shot was, although, not finalized, as the ball hit the post of Alisson’s goal. 

The strong performance of midfielder Kroos, Casemiro and evergreen Modrić allowed Real Madrid to get back on track in the second half. Even though their opponents were constantly pressing them in their half of the pitch, the trio assured their teammates by displaying resilience. 

Photo credits: Real Madrid C.F.

The Merengues almost put the game to bed with an attempt by Vinicius Jr., served by tenacious Fede Valverde, to pierce Alisson’s net. The Brazilian goalkeeper read the situation right away and came off his line to cleared the ball. 

The Spaniard came to this crucial match just barely having recovered from an ankle injury. His attendance came off as a surprise as Zidane’s starting eleven was announced to the public. Furthermore, Valverde was set to play for the first time as a  right-back in the typical 4-3-3 Real Madrid lineup.

Real Madrid will now face Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in the semi-final of the Champions League. The Blues’ coach has well-renowned experience with the final stages of the competition, having reached last year’s final with PSG. The Blancos have acquired an enormous amount of experience, having lifted three trophies with the big ears for three years in a row. Zidane’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Can he succeed in becoming the most successful Real Madrid coach in the team’s history?

Photo credits: Real Madrid C.F.