Keylor Navas was fairly clear about his thoughts regarding the reasons behind Real Madrid’s dismal form. Per AS, the keeper was quoted as saying “Cristiano left the bar very high at Real Madrid [.] You cannot cover the sun with a finger.” The elephant in the room that Real Madrid’s spell of good results at the start of the season had hoped to mask is the hot topic in Spain and Europe again.
Real Madrid fail to score for the first time in 29 Champions League matches and fall to CSKA Moscow! pic.twitter.com/LZXMiF0vYW— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 2, 2018
Lopetegui’s men have struggled offensively in the last three matches and many are pointing to the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the factors for this. The five time Ballon d’Or winner was the focal point of Real Madrid’s attack for close to a decade and was key to the incredible attacking productivity that came to define the club. The media narrative is further helped by the fact that Juventus’s start to the season, results wise, has been one of the best in their history.
How much of this can be attributed to Ronaldo alone is speculative but there is no doubt that he plays a big part. Not just simply losing out on one of the most prolific and dynamic players in the world but also having to adapt to playing without him. Configuring a system that is effective and working at optimum was always going to take time and have growing pains. That will certainly come. But whether that system is able to compensate for everything Ronaldo offered the team is another more scary question altogether.
Looking further into Navas’ statements, he wasn’t ringing the alarm just yet. He acknowledged that Real Madrid were actually creating chances and suffering from some bad luck on the finishing end. “We are sad because they had one chance and took it. We made some stellar chances, but could not get it in. In every game you want to score goals and we had some chances to do so. We were unlucky.” The luck element will regress to the mean eventually — but there are some serious concerns about the quality of the chances we’re creating.
Real Madrid have a mammoth task on their hands to forge a successful and sustainable path in the post-Ronaldo era. This is also not forgetting the resignation of Zidane whose influence and impact were near irreplaceable. If there’s one club that’ up to the task however, it would be Real Madrid.