The next three weeks could be three of the most vital in Real Madrid’s bid for success, despite not playing one domestic fixture until January 7, 2017.
There’s a lot of discussion among Madridistas as to whether the Club World Cup is a waste of time, or a good distraction and an opportunity enjoy further success.
For me, I cannot understand the notion of wanting to pass up what I deem an ideal platform to keep players’ ticking over and win another trophy.
Winning, in no matter what competition, breeds further success.
Up until now, Zinedine Zidane has managed the rotation of the side superbly. Sure, a few of these swaps have been forced through injuries to key players, but with good options available across the squad able to deputise in each position- it’s not an easy task.
The Club World Cup also allows players like Ruben Yanez, Mariano and Fabio Coentrao the opportunity to play a big part in potential success with the rest of the squad that won the Champions League last season. This is invaluable experience for Yanez and Mariano.
On the other side, remember that it hasn’t been long since Casemiro and Toni Kroos were both injured. Zidane can either get them more match fitness, or rest them completely.
But also consider the players that have been enjoying a good run of form in recent weeks.
Lucas Vazquez has really stood out for me. Since Gareth Bale’s injury, the young Spaniard has been immense on that right flank. A sumptuous cross for Mariano’s equaliser on Saturday against Deportivo followed up from a wonderful performance in El Clasico. His role in the build up to Sergio Ramos’s equaliser has been so understated.
Mateo Kovacic has also been growing into that role afforded to him via the injuries to Luka Modric and Toni Kroos respectively. The Croatian has been wonderful to watch in the middle of midfield pulling the strings in a similar fashion to his fellow countryman and the German international.
Real play Club America on Thursday in the Semi-Final of the Club World Cup at the International Stadium in Yokohama. Regardless of whether they win or not, they will either play the third-place play off, or (hopefully) the final on Sunday 18th December.
After that, the next fixture is not until 7 January- when Los Merengues face Granada in Liga Santander- so plenty of time for rest and recuperation.
And I think that winning the Club World Cup could prove the perfect platform in which Real springboard from as 2017 dawns...