Real Madrid can add another trophy to their collection in this early season. The 38th match of the Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu took place tonight, this time against Italian side Fiorentina. With Real taking the match (and the trophy) 2-1, it’s time to analyze some of what we learned from watching.
Cristiano Will Really Be Missed
While you wouldn’t know it given the performance Sunday by Real, they really do need Ronaldo. He contributed to both goals scored, one by himself, the other an assist to Borja Mayoral. The amount of skill that CR7 brings to the team is immeasurable. That’s not to say that Madrid would be lost without him — that’s simply not true. However, even at an age where he should be past his prime, he still plays like he’s 25. Without his skills and talent there’s just another deadly dimension lost when he’s not able to play. The way he seems to score on his own command is truly remarkable, not many players can say the same. His goal, eerily similar to his goal against Barcelona in the 1st leg of the Supercopa, shows a striking ability that is individually unique to Zidane’s lineup.
Even though Real should be fine without him throughout the rest of his ban, this skill-set will sorely hurt the team as a whole regardless. Tonight proved just how important he is to both to the team and on the scoresheet.
The Kids are Alright, but the minutes aren’t
If there’s one thing Real Madrid is not short of it’s an abundance of young players. From Asensio to Ceballos, the squad is literally littered with talented, youthful prospects. The unfortunate part of this, of course, is that many of these youngsters are going to struggle to find adequate playing time. The higher-rated players such as Asensio and Vasquez should have no problem, but others like Marcos Llorente won’t get time to truly develop or play efficiently. This is where Real might have to turn to loan deals. While it’s fantastic that the youth development is effective and the lineup is stacked, this unfortunately results in a logjam on the roster. Nevertheless, many of Real’s youth were on display in today’s match. Mayoral had a goal and the rest of the youth that were brought on were able to showcase their skills. For guys like Mayoral and Llorente, a friendly like this is a way for them to show how good they are while actually having something to play for. And this is a testament to just how good Real is in terms of depth and youth development.
Real Continues to Dominate Inter-league Play
If the Champions League over the past several seasons wasn’t evidence enough, La Liga is the dominant European league and Madrid the dominant European team. While this is just a friendly with a trophy attached, Real beat out another foreign club. Down 1-0 just four minutes into the match, Los Blancos bounced back just two minutes later and the rest of the match was theirs for the taking.
While they only finished in eighth place in Serie A last season, Fiorentina is still a historical club. Long rivals with Champions League runners-up Juventus, they are yet another Italian team to lose a trophy to Real Madrid. While definitely nowhere near the same level as Juventus, Fiorentina still showed they are a capable side. Thus, Real can say they defended the Trofeo Santiago Bernabèu successfully against a somewhat worthy opponent. And if this is any indicator, Real will continue their consistency of beating inter-league clubs, hopefully carrying this trend into Champions League play.
Real can walk out of this match with a full head of confidence and another trophy in the case.