Julen Lopetegui’s puzzle

14 Sep 2018

Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Asensio, Bale, Benzema… Julen Lopetegui, like Zinedine Zidane in his day, can’t fit everyone in his starting XI.

So now it’s his turn to start managing a spectacular squad that has seven big names for only six positions.

“A blessed problem,” all coaches say, although in the end it always ends up becoming a headache for them.

Zidane masterfully handled the rotation and the distribution of minutes between his most important players, although that didn’t prevent some players from finishing unhappy with their roles within the team.

James and Morata, to cite the most important cases, decided to leave the club after a season without minutes in important matches.

Bale threatened the same in the summer, after not starting the big Champions League games.

Although it’s true that there are games for everyone, the reality is that everyone wants to play on the big nights.

From here until the next international break: Athletic, Roma, Sevilla, Atletico, CSKA… and in October, El Clasico.

It will be in these games where Lopetegui will be examined with a magnifying glass.

For now, he hasn’t repeated an XI and has been rotating his most important players.

In the Super Cup, he started with Casemiro, Kroos, Isco, Bale, Benzema and Asensio, leaving out Luka Modric who had barely trained after the World Cup.

On the first matchday in LaLiga SantanderCasemiro and Modric rested, allowing Ceballos to start with Kroos and Isco.

In Girona, on the second date, it was again the Croat who remained on the bench, whilst against LeganesIsco was sacrificed.

Now, after this break, Lopetegui will have all of his players in perfect condition, since Modric is fighting fit after more than a month of training.

It’s his turn to sit on the sidelines again, as Lucas Vazquez, Mariano and Ceballos are given a chance to stake their claims.

Bale, Benzema and Asensio (BBA) have led the attack in the first four official games of the season, but there are still doubts in the midfield, and it’s been in the core where the rotation has taken place.

Modric, ready

To date, Casemiro, Kroos and Isco have been the ones who have played the most times together, but we must bear in mind that Modric barely had preseason because of the World Cup.

It’s now, with Modric‘s return to fitness, when Lopetegui will find a painful situation that needs addressing.

The entire Real Madrid squad are delighted with the coach and the players assume there will be minutes for everyone.

Lopetegui‘s message has been clear and, like Zidane, he has tried to make his players see that the titles are not won by only 11 players, but by the squad of 23.

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