Real Madrid’s undefeated start to the season came to an end with a 3-2 loss to RB Leipzig in Germany. Even though it’s late October, Los Blancos deserves praise for their efforts. The Bundesliga giants are a tremendously skilled team despite their terrible start to the season, so they were bound to be defeated sooner or later.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any takeaways from the game. There were several major ones.
The most notable was the role the old guard played in this camp. Under Carlo Ancelotti’s tutelage, Real Madrid’s success has often hinged on the team’s superior mindset to pull win out of the jaws of loss. Both Karim Benzema and Luka Modric, two of their most experienced players, were injured and unavailable for this match.
Real Madrid did not perform nearly as well without them, demonstrating the continued value they bring to the squad. One should not expect Los Blancos to simply replace them with newer, younger players. These people are the backbone of the squad.
Real Madrid’s success has been hampered by a slew of injuries.
Both Modric and Benzema were notable absences, but they were hardly alone. The other was Federico Valverde, who had been their best player of the season up to that point.
Valverde is scoring goals for fun like nobody’s business this season. As he has scored campaign-long spectaculars from long range, his shooting has begun to resemble a cheat code.
This does highlight a problem with this Real Madrid team, however, and that is their lack of depth. That has made it difficult for Ancelotti to rotate his starters, and it makes the risk of injury while playing twice a week much higher.
In order to alleviate some of the burden on the regular starters, Real Madrid would be wise to add a few more players to their roster, even if they are not superstars, who can operate as impact substitutes and start the odd game.