It’s tough to take, but it’s reality. Nacho Fernandez and Lucas Vazquez are two redundant players for Real Madrid. They’re no longer good enough to meet the demands of a team that aspires to win everything. Then, Marcelo and Isco are two players who are letting themselves go. They do have what it takes ability-wise, but not in terms of competitiveness. What they have in quality, which is a lot, they lack in physicality and intensity. They’re not up to the demands of elite football these days. These four players will probably stay at Real Madrid this season because they have contracts in place and there haven’t been any offers for them. Or maybe it’s simply because they don’t want to move clubs. Their level, though, is a little lower than last season – and that already wasn’t enough to play for Real Madrid.
Putting those four players in a line-up that left out Casemiro and Fede Valverde was asking for trouble. Zinedine Zidane, who is the one who sees them in training at Valdebebas every day and who knows what they can and can’t offer, should know better than anyone that this mix would produce dangerous results. That’s how it was. Cadiz ran the show against Los Blancos for the first half an hour, in every sense of the word. Between the limitations of the aforementioned four and the relaxed nature of the rest of the team, the 1-0 scoreline was less than both teams deserved.
The fact that Zidane was going to rotate his squad after an international break and before a packed fixture list was clear, but it got out of hand. Risking losing the lead at the top of the table six days before a Clasico because you’ve gifted someone a result is the price he pays for a lack of moderation. The four substitutions at half time were nothing more than a clear recognition of the big mistakes made.