A week on and Real Madrid are all smiles again at every level of the club. From the top to the bottom, from the sporting management to Zinedine Zidane and Florentino Perez. They’re a long way from a week ago, when it seemed like their time together was limited.
Now, they’ll travel to the Wanda Metropolitano for the season’s first Madrid derby looking at their rivals Atletico over their shoulders.
Zidane is the first who doubted his team’s response, which he himself admitted. But then he came out reinforced with his players fighting for him, as was shown at Sevilla and against Osasuna. The victories have helped him to demonstrate his leadership and almost everyone at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night left with a smile.
The good news comes from beyond the leadership. Vinicius Junior’s tears after scoring have to be mentioned, as does Rodrygo’s stunner on his debut and Eder Militao’s dominant presence at the back. Even Alphonse Areola got a clean sheet on his debut. Everyone is happy.
Rodrygo was one of the big bets this past summer, but before Osasuna he hadn’t done anything, not even played. But the first time he got the ball in a competitive senior game, he showed exactly why he was signed. Very few players can show that calmness and vision in such an intense moment.
Zidane has even given new life to the reserves. That B team who helped him to his 2016/17 double know they have a place, and there are new backups as well. Fede Valverde, Militao, Areola, the Brazilians, Lucas Vazquez and Nacho are all feeling good.
It seems as though everything has changed at Real Madrid. That double-winning team also experienced a crisis that ended with a talk from Sergio Ramos and was followed by a win at Eibar.
No, they’ve realized that they hit rock bottom and they’re on their way back. There’s no better challenge than that of Saturday to help them push on again.