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Five Takeaways from Real Madrid's Supercopa Defeat

Real Madrid were clearly second best in the two-legged affair, what can we learn from their performance?

Denis Doyle

Real Madrid didn't deserve to win the Supercopa de España, that much is clear. But what does their play over the two legs reveal about the upcoming campaign? Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and comments as well!

1. Real Madrid still are incapable of defending set pieces against Atlético. Over the two legs, los colchoneros had countless opportunities on set plays where Real Madrid defenders seemed to have momentary lapses in concentration, leading to their goal at the Bernabéu as well as Raul Garcia's near goal at the Calderon. This is not a new problem for Real Madrid either, as even Barcelona took advantage of this weakness last year in the Copa Del Rey Final. How can Carlo Ancelotti go about improving this? The personnel is definitely there, with aerial giants like Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Varane and Ronaldo- is it just a question of will and effort?

2. The midfield is totally in limbo. There is no doubt that Xabi Alonso, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are world class midfielders. Yet, when the three are paired together in the center of the park, play tends to be strictly lateral and has failed to impose any true attacking threat. Angel di Maria is clearly missing here, but with him all but out of the Capital, where will Madrid turn to find their inspiration? Carlo Ancelotti has stated his desire to continue employing his favored 4-3-3 formation, but it may be difficult for Madrid to play vibrant, attacking football with it this season. However, the season is still young and Ancelotti is noted for adapting very well to the strengths of his team.

3. Dani Carvajal has blossomed into one of the world's best right backs. Ever since the Castilla product returned home last summer, his play has developed exponentially. While he still may be hot headed at times, his tenacity and drive are unquestionable. Carvajal's offense abilities were never in doubt, but in the last year his defensive positioning and tackling skills have taken a quantum leap. His pace allows him to complete critical chase downs and interceptions, and without him Atleti surely would have scored more than two goals in the Supercopa. It may have been disappointing for Dani to miss the World Cup by such a narrow margin (he was on Spain's 30 man roster), but he soon will make the Spanish right back position his own like he has done in Madrid.

4. James Rodriguez will be a star in Madrid, after he finds his true position with this team. It's not a secret that James' preferred position is the #10 in behind a striker, and he looked very dangerous against Atleti when he played there. Yet, he did not look very comfortable playing on either wing and made it clear that he has no intentions of using his right foot too often. Whatever the case, Ancelotti knows he has a special talent on his hands and will need to accommodate him well in the squad. With his nose for goal and vision, James will be a hit in Madrid, it might just take a little while.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo needs to take care of his niggling injuries. Cristiano Ronaldo is very much Superman in Madrid, and that won't anytime soon. It's clear, however, that Superman may have encountered a bit of kryptonite with some troublesome knee issues. Reports have circulated that the injury should see Cristiano on the sideline for 1-3 months, but Cristiano obviously wants to play every game (AS). Hopefully Ronaldo is not jeopardizing his future performance by choosing to play instead of rest, because he was nowhere near his best over the two legs and lacked his normal explosion. It may have been a result of stagnant play around him and superb Atlei defense, but something just didn't look right with Cris.

Loosing out on the Supercopa should only be a minor bump in the road for this Real Madrid team, and hopefully it will be used to springboard awesome success this season. The situation is definitely not dire, but there absolutely some questions this team will need to answer if it wants to reach the hight's that it is capable of. Hala Madrid!

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