Something incredibly interesting is happening at Real Madrid this season. After winning three of the last four Champions League titles, and winning La Liga last year, they’ve put themselves in a fascinating situation that gives fans the best of both worlds. Preparing for the future in an obvious and effective way, and remaining great for the season ahead.
Putting your team in a position to be successful in the present, and in the future is a tough thing to do. Most present day large European football clubs rely on each transfer window to bolster their squad for the upcoming year. If their squad is getting older, they buy a few younger players and hope it all works out. Very few teams have been able to keep the core of the roster that has had immense European success, have squad depth, and be building for the next 10 years all at the same time.
Yesterday, in their 3-1 over Real Sociedad, Real Madrid were put in a somewhat precarious situation. With injuries and suspension to much of the core of their first team, Zinedine Zidane was forced to adjust his squad. Losing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mateo Kovacic, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, and Marcelo for even a game could have devastated the team’s chances.
But Real Madrid, because of years of squad building and planning, were able to adapt to the situation in a unique way. Most teams would supplement the squad problems with a few older players, and perhaps some younger players that aren’t quite ready for prime time action. But Real Madrid were able to play the players that they have setup for future Real Madrid stardom without missing a beat.
Most teams would have wilted under the pressure of losing multiple starters. It was a tough match on the road, and Zidane was able to put his team in a great situation.
It would be shortsighted to overreact to the Sociedad match, but lessons from the game include the way that Real Madrid were able to supplement their squad with young and effective players. It’s something that should be incredibly enjoyable for the Real faithful. Being able to boast a starting lineup with superstars all over the pitch, but then also supplement that with young, exciting players that can contribute now is peak enjoyment for a football team.
Borja Mayoral, Marco Asensio, Isco, and Theo Hernandez all played massive roles in yesterday’s win. Asensio and Isco have been making waves for the last few months, and in Isco’s case years, but the four of them are all as of now, not regular first team starters for Real Madrid. Yet, they were able to fill in for Real’s starters and contribute to a massive La Liga win on the road.
Moving forward, there will certainly be bumps along the road with individual players from Mayoral to Hernandez continuing to develop into consistent first teamers. Players the likes of Karin Benzema and Garrett Bale will still get ripped after an average performance and from time to time Cristiano Ronaldo may forget the extra pass.
Nevertheless, if you’re a Real Madrid fan, the stage that they’re in is a special one that should be appreciated. Not many fans can say that their team is both the best in Europe and full of talented players under 25 that are ready to help the team now, and ready to take the place of a star first teamer should they go down.
It would be an overreaction to believe that each game will go as well as the win at Sociedad did for Real the rest of the season, that’s not what this discussion is about. Fans should appreciate Real Madrid’s current roster situation. It gives fans a wonderful look at the current stars that Real deploy on a weekly basis and the future that Real have without compromising team performance and the chance at success this year and years to come. That’s a tough feat to pull off, and regardless of how you feel about specific player’s performances, this team should be appreciated.