Spanish giants Real Madrid could end up winning the Champions League and the Spanish League this year despite a rocky start to their season.
Zinedine Zidane’s men were beaten by the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk twice in the Champions League group stages, and at one point, it seemed like Los Blancos would drop down to the Europa League.
Back in November, they were beaten by the likes of Valencia and Deportivo Alaves in the Spanish League, and their title chances seemed bleak at the time.
Zidane experimented with a 4-2-3-1 formation at the start of the season, and Real Madrid struggled to adapt to the new system.
However, they have managed to recover from that, and Real Madrid could end up finishing the season strongly now.
Here at Anytime football, we look at the three main reasons behind their transformation.
Zidane’s man-management and tactical switch
Zinedine Zidane switched to his preferred 4-3-3 formation after realizing that the 4-2-3-1 system was not getting the best out of his players.
The swift tactical switch allowed Real Madrid to regain their form and rhythm. Zidane did not persist with a system that was failing just to prove a point, and his quick decision helped his side bounce back.
Furthermore, the Real Madrid manager is an excellent man-manager, and he helped restore the confidence in his players during a rough patch.
Steve McManaman: “Zidane has done an incredible job, If he were any other coach, we’d be exhausted from applauding him. The fact that he’s so great, the fact he doesn’t want applause, the fact he’s nice and laid-back, people don’t think he’s a tactical genius, but he really is.”
Karim Benzema’s reliability
The French striker has been outstanding for Real Madrid all season, and he has managed to replace Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals since his departure.
The 33-year-old striker has 19 goals and six assists to his name in 26 appearances for Real Madrid in the Spanish League. Furthermore, he has five goals in eight appearances in the Champions League.
Karim Benzema has been a reliable goal scorer for Real Madrid all season, and he has helped them pick up valuable points week in week out.
Even when he is not scoring, he is the string that ties together the Real Madrid attack.
Ever reliable midfield trio
The likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro, have been in fine form this season, and they continue to deliver on a consistent basis.
Real Madrid’s success this season has been built on the reliability of their midfield trio, and their importance was once again evident in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Despite the likes of Asensio and Vinicius scoring the goals against Liverpool, it was the likes of Kroos and Casemiro who helped Real Madrid get through to the semi-finals with defining contributions in defence and attack.
Casemiro won Man of the Match after an influential midfield performance at Anfield. Despite a goalless draw, Real Madrid will go to the semi-finals on a 3-1 aggregate win. #LIVRMA #UCL
Real Madrid players have achieved man of the match in all of the knock out stages games so far: Mendy in the Round-of-16 against Atalanta in the 1st leg, Modric in the 2nd leg, Vinicius in the quarter final against Liverpool in the 1st leg, and Casemiro Won it in the 2nd leg.