Colombia creator James Rodriguez’s gaining of a Spanish passport has done nothing to alter Real Madrid’s view that he has no long-term future with them, according to reports.
Rodriguez, 27, was a much-heralded €76 million signing from Monaco in the wake of his Golden Boot-exploits at World Cup 2014. He, however, failed to live up to this billing in the Spanish capital and inked a two-year loan move to Bayern Munich in July 2017, with a €42m permanent option that isn’t expected to be exercised.
The former Porto playmaker gained Spanish citizenship this week, ensuring he will not take up one of the three allowed non-EU places in the Los Blancos squad upon his return this summer. But Marca have stated that Zinedine Zidane’s return as head coach and continued pursuit of Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard means there is no desire to reintegrate him.
Perennial Serie A champions Juventus have registered interest in Rodriguez and this option, reportedly, appeals to him more than a transfer to the Premier League.
Rodriguez has netted 36 times in 111 matches. In Germany, he’s scored 15 goals during 64 fixtures.
After Eibar went 1-0 up at the Santiago Bernabeu, it semmed Jose Mendelibar’s men were on course to complete a double over Real Madrid.
They had completely dominated Los Blancos at home in a game which ended 3-0 in their favour and it looked like they picked up from where they left off when Marc Cardona opened the scoring after he chipped Gonzalo Escalante’s pass over Keylor Navas and into the back of the net.
However, Zinedine Zidane’s men rode on Karim Benzema’s brace to bag all three points and avenge their defeat.
We take a look at the talking points from this comeback.
BENZEMA – MADRID’S SILENT GUARDIAN Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema has scored more La Liga goals than the rest of Real Madrid's attack combined this season 🌟 pic.twitter.com/RpFoPan6zI— Sport360° (@Sport360) April 6, 2019
Naturally, the striker is expected to score most of the goals. But what Benzema has done for Madrid this season is incredible. The Frenchman has saved Madrid’s blushes pretty often and this game would go down as yet another example.
Benzema first got the ball at the back of the net after he cheekily slipped in Gareth Bale’s square pass. But the Welshman was judged offside. Next, he capitalised on a mistake by the opposition keeper and slotted in, only for the play to be pulled back because the former France international was just inches offside.
It was third time lucky for Benzema, who made no mistake heading in Alvaro Odriozola’s cross to help Madrid pull level. He later nodded home Toni Kroos’ corner to hand the hosts the lead.
Aside from the fact that he has scored more La Liga goals this season than Bale, Isco, Vinicius Junior, Marco Asensio, Mariano Diaz and Lucas Vazquez combined, Benzema has been one of the most complete and reliable players for Madrid this season.
He has been forced to drop deep at times to support the play and create for the likes of Bale and Vinicius and he has done so without compromising on his duties as a goalscorer. Benzema did claim that Cristiano Ronaldo was holding him back and he can do a lot better this season. He has justified his claim by carrying Madrid’s insipid attack.
BALE’S TIME IS SURELY UP
Bale does drop the occasional impressive performance, but it’s usually followed by a series of mediocre ones. Almost every aspect of the Welshman’s game was poor against Eibar.
The winger’s shooting has been woeful in the past few games and it does not look like he is working on improving it. He was sent through on goal in a one-on-one situation with acres of space behind and in front of him, but he only managed to direct his shot exactly at the keeper, his blushes spared by the offside flag.
Minutes later, he shot from distance and the ball soared past Eibar’s last line of defence, embarrassingly wide. At this point, it was clear that the fans had lost their patience and they were making their displeasure at the Welshman known, with jeers and whistles. If anything, this only made things worse for Bale, who then started coupling horrible touches with inaccurate passes.
The former Spurs man did drop to defend against Eibar’s dangerous defenders, but he showed lack of conviction and was beaten easily.
It’s fair to say that Bale’s future at Madrid is on the line and he is not doing much to save it.
YOUNG GUNS IMPRESS
Federico Valverde was clearly the pick of the lot for Madrid in the disastrous first half. The youngster was trying to hold together whatever was left of Madrid’s shredded midfield and covered up for Luka Modric in a couple of occasions. In the past and in this game, Valverde has shown that there is immense potential in him and he deserves more minutes.
Sergio Reguilon was absolutely solid for Madrid on the left and he barely made any mistakes throughout the game. The youngster is definitely on course to replace Marcelo as the first choice left-back.
Earlier this season, Odriozola was totally dominated by Marc Cucurella. This time, the right-back ensured that the wing-back – who is on loan from Barcelona – was kept silent throughout the game. He also showed promise in attack and bagged an assist.
The battle was decided on the wing when the two teams met earlier this season. The same can be said about Madrid’s win at the Bernabeu, but this tie it was Madrid’s young full-backs who came out on top. The future is definitely bright for Los Blancos. It all comes down to when Zidane chooses to commence with the transition.
Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro stated insists the team is united and all the players are working hard to overcome their crisis this season.
Los Blancos’ misery continued after they lost 2-1 to Valencia on Wednesday night, with Dani Parejo inspiring the hosts to a win that could prove to be decisive in their quest for a top-four finish.
The Brazilian believes that the players now need to give their best in every training session and every match to get out of this slump.
“Real Madrid have to do the best they can in every [training] session and every match,” Casemiro said after the game, according to Marca.
“We know it’s a hard time but we all have to be counted. It’s a complicated year and we’re working to return [stronger] next season.
“We’re together when we lose. When one of us is bad we all are. We’re working.”
Casemiro is of the opinion that Madrid were far from second best against Valencia and they controlled the game pretty well in the first half.
“I don’t think they were superior,” he said.
“We controlled the first half well and then they scored. We had control of the match, but they scored. We worked in the second half, we tried, but scoring is complicated.”