Another meeting with Atletico Madrid, another three points dropped.
Currently, Atletico's dominance over Real Madrid is like clockwork. Statistically speaking, Los Blancos haven't defeated Atletico in the league in the past six and have only conquered them once in 90 minutes over the last 12 in all competitions. Diego Simeone is Real Madrid's kryptonite, but this time around, Madridistas thought the match would shape out differently with Zinedine Zidane at the helm.
All in all, it didn't, but the loss to Atleti did teach us three important lessons:
Cristiano Ronaldo isn't a leader
No, reporters aren't twisting Cristiano's words. He said what he said:
"If my teammates were on my level maybe we would be leading the Liga table," Cristiano said postgame.
This comes after yet another loss to Atletico and another "big game" that the Portuguese didn't show up in. He has very little room to talk considering he missed two clear cut chances and sent many of his headers straight at Oblak. His on-field performance will be forgiven but it's what he said off the pitch that's incredibly concerning. Cristiano wants to be considered the very best in the world and ability-wise, there's obviously a case. However, when it comes to pulling his team out of the gutter amidst adversity, he's failed.
While we may never know what he truly meant with his words, the fact that he needs to go back and clarify is unsettling enough.
Borja Mayoral is the future
Madridistas know Mayoral well. His goal against Manchester City's U19 squad was masterclass and certainly a finish that would have Ray Hudson jumping out of his chair. Magisterial to say the least.
If you don't know much about Borja Mayoral, he's 18, he's from Madrid, and he's the absolute business.— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) February 27, 2016
His outstanding performance against City earned him minutes in today's matchup as he replaced Karim Benzema after the break. Overall, he played well and was one of Real Madrid's lone bright spots. His pace kept Atletico on their heels and he nearly scored the equalizer in the 70th minute but scuffed his chance.
Zidane's appointment hasn't changed much
The honeymoon period is officially over with this defeat. Yes, Atletico only outscored Los Blancos by one goal but the Frenchman was appointed to win these types of games.
Thus far, this is only Zidane's first defeat while at the helm of Real Madrid and he's led the team to six victories in league play. No one expected Zidane to take over and regain the lost ground Rafa was responsible for but Madridistas were hoping he'd defeat their cross city rivals.
Zidane: "Our problem's not physical, it's mental"— AS English (@English_AS) February 27, 2016
He's 0-for-1 to start and while he's not on the chopping block, he does have a few things to prove. He declared that his team's problem is mental, not physical. We've seen what kind of turnarounds Real Madrid is capable of in the past but the real question is how will Zidane respond when the pressure is heaved upon him?