Real Madrid suffered yet another defeat in their pre-season tour after a first-half goal by Harry Kane handed Tottenham a 1-0 win in the Audi Cup semi-final.
The English striker converted a misplaced pass from Marcelo, that followed a mistake from Eden Hazard. Despite the narrow win on the scoreboard, Spurs were by far the better team and Madrid have Keylor Navas to thank for minimising the damage.
We take a deeper look at how the Spanish giants performed.
Hazard fails to impress
Hazard has failed to register a goal in over 200 minutes of pre-season football at his new club. Although no conclusions can be drawn out of friendly games, the Belgian would surely have hoped for a better start at Madrid.
Numbers aside, the former Chelsea man failed to make an impact on the game from his No.10 role. Deployed in the central attacking midfield position, Hazard often shifted to the right wing but failed to impress in either position.
The 28-year-old misplaced several passes, one of which put Marcelo in a tough spot and ultimately led to Tottenham’s goal. The incoherence between Hazard and his new team-mates was visible and he must work on his link-up play.
Navas still the number one
Despite what coach Zinedine Zidane has had to say about Thibaut Courtois’ status as the first-choice goalkeeper, Navas appears to be the better shot-stopper. The Costa Rican was called into action more often than he would have expected and he was on point with his reflexes on most occasions.
Madrid conceded just two goals when Navas was guarding the posts during their humiliating 7-3 defeat to Atletico Madrid. The scoreline against Spurs could have been much harsher if the Belgian started between the sticks.
Zidane is better off choosing Navas as the first-choice until Courtois earns his place.
Rodrygo – The only bright spot for Madrid
Everything was off about Madrid’s play; the defence, the passing, the finishing and the desire to win the game. 18-year-old Rodrygo’s performance in the front-line was their only bright spoton what was a gloomy day.
The Brazilian talent actually had some substance to his approach and was their best player on the pitch. His dribbling, progressive play and the right attitude scripted a few promising moments for Los Blancos.
Madrid should definitely consider the youngster as a viable option despite their abundanceof attackers.
New season, same story
Sluggish play, mistakes at the back, lack of stability in midfield and over-reliance on crossing for chance creation – Madrid have not shown any improvements in their last two pre-season games.
Sergio Ramos has been poor and has produced his defensive prowess only in flashes. Marcelo has been average in attack and caught out of position quite frequently, thus leaving a huge hole on the left flank. The lack of depth at the back could come back to bite them during the course of the season.
Luka Modric was the only player who showed the slightest improvement from the previous season. The Croatian is still not close to the peak he reached during the World Cup last season but the signs of a possible resurrection are evident.
The amount of quality in the squad and Madrid’s performance in the pre-season are of stark contrast. Will they win the Champions League this season? Will they finish out of the top four in La Liga? Both? Anything is possible.
Gareth Bale has not travelled with Real Madrid to a pre-season tournament in Germany after his proposed move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning fell through.
Real will play Bale’s former club Tottenham at the Audi Cup on Tuesday, with hosts Bayern Munich and Turkish side Fenerbahce also involved in the four-team tournament.
The Spanish giants said on the club website on Monday that Bale had not trained outside with the main group, and worked inside instead with injured team-mate Luka Jovic.
Real later announced their Germany-bound squad and Bale’s name was missing from the 24-player list.
Bale has three years left on his Real contract, but manager Zinedine Zidane has made it clear he is not the 30-year-old’s biggest fan and said last week the player’s exit would be “best for everyone”.
The Wales forward had been expected to sign a three-year deal at Jiangsu Suning worth a reported £1million a week, but the move collapsed on Sunday amid reports that Real president Florentino Perez had blocked the deal.
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett dismissed reports in the Spanish media that the player’s family stopped the deal, telling Sky Sports News that his family were ready to leave Madrid.
PA understands that Bale – who joined Real in 2013 for a then world record £85million deal – is furious with his treatment at the hands of Zidane and Perez and felt he was not in the right frame of mind to play in Munich.
On Sunday, Barnett told French publication Le Journal du Dimanche: “It’s simple, Zidane doesn’t like Gareth.
“There’s no relationship between them. There never has been.”
Barnett has ruled out a loan deal for Bale, who has won four Champions League winners’ medals at the Bernabeu, and maintains any transfer would be done in the best interests of the Welshman.
Spanish media outlet Marca reported on Monday that Bale now has two options – find a new Chinese club willing to pay a transfer fee as well as sky-high wages or seek a return to the Premier League, which will mean a pay cut.
The Chinese League transfer window closes on Wednesday, however, so there is little time to do a deal in that part of the world.
Jiangsu Suning immediately signed Croatia striker Ivan Santini from Anderlecht after the Bale deal collapsed, filling the foreign player spot that had been held back for a player who has scored 102 goals in 231 appearances for Real.
Santini’s arrival from Anderlecht was confirmed on Jiangsu’s social media channels and his signature means the Chinese outfit have filled their four-player foreign quota.
Similar to the Arabian Gulf League, the CSL allows only four overseas-born players in their squad at one time with Gabriel Paletta set to leave Jiangsu before Wednesday’s transfer deadline, taking them from five to four.
Bale was widely expected to join Jiangsu as a financial package worth over £1 million per week was mooted.
Gareth Bale joins the list of high-profile transfer collapses after Real Madrid pulled the plug on his Jiangsu Suning move 😅— Sport360° (@Sport360) July 29, 2019
Should Real have let him go?🤔 pic.twitter.com/LXUXgsbgZG
However, reports on Sunday said the Real Madrid board had blocked the transfer with Los Blancos not willing to let the 30-year-old leave on a free.
Jiangsu also unveiled Miranda after acquiring the Brazilian from Inter late last week and with Alex Teixeira plus Eder Martins two key members of former Al Ain and Al Ahli boss Cosmin Olaroiu’s outfit filling the other slots, it’s unlikely a spot will be made available for Bale.