Despite Ronaldo’s harsh post-match interview, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane assures that it is "now in the past" and that the entire team is with the Portuguese leader. Nevertheless, such comments are surely likely to have rattled those who feature less regularly in the team, and the entire squad will be hoping to put such polemics to bed with a win over Levante.
When asked why they had not seen the best Ronaldo against Malaga, Betis, Granada, or Ateti, Ronaldo angrily responded to the journalists, stating that "[i]f everyone was at my level we are first." It is likely that such a remark was due to Ronaldo’s renowned short fuse, but it nevertheless undermined his world-class teammates, regardless of whether he was referring to fitness levels rather than ability.
Zidane, at the pre-match presser, acknowledged Ronaldo’s importance, and emphasized that "[e]verything is fixed and the most important thing is what’s coming up."
Still, a somewhat disrupted dressing room and a difficult loss should prove to be no burden when Real Madrid face Levante tomorrow evening. The last-placed Valencian outfit will be facing the La Liga giants after having suffered a 3-0 defeat at Villarreal this past Sunday. Levante manager Rubi has transmitted a fighting message to his team, and is keen on turning the page with a shock win over the team captained by Sergio Ramos.
Without David Navarro and Pedro Lopez, and having only picked up three out of their last 15 points, it would take a colossal effort on behalf of Rubi’s men to upset a team desperately seeking a win. Nevertheless, the stats are neither satisfying nor calming for Madridistas. Los Blancos have not yet won in either of their two trips to the Valencian Community this season (D1, L1) and have merely won one of their three La Liga away games under their new French manager. In addition, the team led by Deyverson (with seven La Liga goals to his name), has won three of their four previous matches at home, with only FC Barcelona claiming all three points.
With Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Marcelo, Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos all unavailable, expect a makeshift starting XI, albeit Madrid’s strongest available XI. Accordingly, Zidane may opt for a first league start for the 18-year-old Borja Mayoral, who came off the bench this last weekend against Simeone’s men and is expected to shine in the future due to his enormous potential.
Notwithstanding Zidane’s optimism, expect Madrid’s short squad and low confidence to play a role in tomorrow’s match. That being said, even an aggrieved Real Madrid should have what it takes to overcome La Liga’s bottom-placed outfit.
Levante possible lineup (4-4-2 formation): Marino; Lerma, Feddal, Medjani, Tono; Verdu, Verza, Simao, Morales; Rossi, Deyverson
Real Madrid possible lineup (4-3-3 formation): Navas; Danilo, Pepe, Varane, Nacho; Kroos, Kovacic, Isco; James, Ronaldo, Jese
Head to Head:
- 17/10/15 – Real Madrid 3 – 0 Levante (La Liga)
- 15/03/15 – Real Madrid 2 – 0 Levante (La Liga)
- 18/10/15 – Levante 0 – 5 Real Madrid (La Liga)
- 09/03/14 – Real Madrid 3 – 0 Levante (La Liga)
- 05/10/13 – Levante 2 – 3 Real Madrid (La Liga)
Managing Madrid staff predictions:
- Om: Levante 0 – 3 Real Madrid
- Nate: Levante 0 – 2 Real Madrid
- Mike: Levante 0 – 4 Real Madrid
- Lucas: Levante 0 – 2 Real Madrid
- Andrejs: Levante 1 – 2 Real Madrid