This past May, I remember watching Real Madrid’s match against Celta Vigo, and, after seeing all of the birthday wishes for Marcelo, I had a bit of an “awwww they won for Marcelo!” moment. It spurred a Google session and a handful of tweets, and I found a pattern. I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but last season Real Madrid had a glorious habit of not losing any game that fell either on or within three days, either side, of a player’s birthday.
When they played on a player’s birthday, their record stood at 6-0-2:
- September 9th: Luka Modric – 1-1 draw with Levante
- January 4th: Toni Kroos – 3-0 win over Numancia
- January 18th: Nacho Fernandez – 1-0 win over Leganés
- January 21st: Marco Asensio – 7-1 win over Deportivo La Coruña
- February 23rd: Casemiro - 4-0 win over Alavés
- April 24th: Raphael Varane – 2-1 win over Bayern Munich
- May 6th: Mateo Kovacic – 2-2 draw with Barcelona
- May 12th: Marcelo – 6-0 win over Celta Vigo
When you extend out the date range to three days either side of a player’s birthday, the record then becomes 13-0-4. The remaining seven victories and two draws fell as follows:
- August 7th: Dani Ceballos – 2-1 win over Manchester United on August 8th
- October 2nd: Kiko Casilla – 2-0 win over Espanyol on October 1st
- November 4th: Achraf Hakimi – 3-0 win over Las Palmas on November 5th
- December 15th, 19th: Keylor Navas, Karim Benzema – 1-0 win over Gremio
- January 11th: Dani Carvajal – 2-2 draw with Numancia on January 10th
- January 30th: Marcos Llorente – 4-1 win over Valencia on January 27th
- March 30th: Sergio Ramos – 3-0 win over Las Palmas on March 31st
- April 5th: Borja Mayoral – 3-0 win over Juventus on April 3rd
- April 21st: Isco – 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao on April 18th
The only exception to this three-day rule was Theo Hernandez. The closest game to his October 6th birthday was five days earlier on October 1st – a 2-0 victory over Espanyol.
Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case this year as they are currently sitting at 5-3-1 for birthdays in the 2018/2019 season. One of those losses, however, was the 1-0 loss to Leganés in the Copa del Rey two days before Nacho’s birthday. We still advanced, so I guess it still ends up as a win in a way?
Currently, there are at least five more games coming this season that fall within the three-games either side of, or on a player’s birthday — with the potential for more should they continue to advance in the Champions League and Copa del Rey. (Unfortunately, we won’t match 2017/18 due to our current record and scheduling.) Here’s to hoping the team puts together some good results for Llorente, Casemiro, Ramos, Varane, and Isco.