A 2-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad, a 3-0 home defeat to CSKA Moscow, a 3-0 away defeat to Eibar, a 5-1 defeat in El Clásico… the list goes on.
Real Madrid have had a torrid season to date and their inconsistencies show little sign of relenting. Poor performances are punctuated by the occasional positive display, yet they relapse with worrying frequency.
A change in coach has not sparked the upturn in results which the hierarchy would have hoped for. It is evident that the problems at the club run much deeper than that.
What’s gone wrong?
A hangover following three consecutive Champions League titles? Player’s coming to the end of their cycle? The loss of Cristiano Ronaldo? Poor recruitment? All of the above?
There are numerous reasons Los Blancos have stuttered this season and. Although a dip may have been expected following a period of sustained European success, it is surprising as to the extent of their current problems.
A switch in transfer policy in recent years means they have not been adding ready-made stars to their squad in the manner they once would. This may have been to their detriment, and added to their current woes.
Rodrygo (18), Vinicius Junior (18), Brahim Diaz (19), Theo Hernandez (now 21), Dani Ceballos (now 22), have all been signed for significant sums, but they are certainly not the finished article.
Consequently, with the departure of Ronaldo and the fact the elder statesman have gotten that little bit older, Madrid have failed to adequately add to their side so that they are competitive this season. Yes, they have signed players who have the potential to be stars in the future, but that does not help them now.
A summer splurge for Madrid?
This policy seems as if it will be rectified in the summer with the likes of Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Christian Eriksen all being linked with high-profile moves to the Bernabeu, but why did nobody have the foresight to do this sooner. Why did nobody think to replace Ronaldo, the most prolific striker in Real Madrid history?
Though some of these players may not have been available, Real, in the past, have gone out and secured alternative signings. They have acquired people who can ensure they challenged.
No one would advocate simply signing just superstars (Real’s Galactico policy proved this does not work), nor would anyone suggest they should simply sign young talent. For a successful and sustainable future, there clearly needs to be a mix of both.
What now for the rest of the season?
The remit for Santiago Solari will be to ensure they qualify for the Champions League: failure to do so for a club like Madrid will be deemed disastrous. They will also be expected to fight for the European trophy they have retained for the last three years. This season, however, that may be one step too far.
Then, come the summer, there will be the inevitable reshuffle: marquee signings, new high-profile coach, a clear-out of the deadwood. This campaign will go down as a write-off (barring a miraculous second half to the season). This is very much on them, though, they are paying the price for their own shortcomings in the market.