Leganés came to the Bernabéu as the bottom-placed team in the LaLiga table and were quite simply bullied by Real Madrid on Wednesday night. They were thrashed 5-0 by a Real Madrid side that was creative, quick and clinical. From the latest positive Rodrygo performance to Sergio Ramos’ double-penalty, there were several answers and questions and we look at three each below.
1. Would there be more Bernabéu brilliance from Rodrygo?
Yes, absolutely yes. It took just seven minutes for Rodrygo to score the opener. After also scoring during his brief run-out against Osasuna last month, this means he netted two goals across his first 30 minutes of action at the Bernabéu. After his 90-minute runout, it stands at two goals in 109 Bernabéu minutes. That’s dream-come-true kind of stuff for an 18-year-old. By comparison, Gareth Bale has two Bernabéu goals in his last 1,107 minutes at the stadium.
2. Would Luka Jović get his first goal?
Luka Jović hadn’t officially scored for Real Madrid, but that all changed. He had shown that he could put the ball in the back of the net as the Serbian striker produced a nice finish in the Osasuna win last month, only for VAR to intervene and show he was offside. When he came on tonight, this was a great opportunity for him to get his account up and running. Once again, though, he was denied by the offside line at first as a good headed goal didn’t count on the scoreboard. Eventually, though, Jović did time his run perfectly and now has an official Real Madrid goal on his statsheet. That’s a huge weight off his shoulders.
3. How would César Soto Grado do?
Referee watch. This was a huge night for César Soto Grado, one of the referees promoted from Spain’s second division to LaLiga Santander over the summer. In my opinion, he has been pretty good so far over the first couple of months of the season and the Spanish FA’s refereeing committee seemed to agree, rewarding him with this fixture. He had never officiated Real Madrid before in his life and had never been the referee at a stadium as grand as the Bernabéu. In fact, the 39-year-old referee was doing Castilla matches as recently as February of 2018. It was going to be interesting to see how he’d handle the occasion and I thought he did so perfectly. He was calm and sufficiently in control for the penalty awards and even the retake. Well done to Mr Soto Grado on the biggest night of his career so far.
1. Can Fede Valverde add scoring to his game?
Fede Valverde has been one of the main feel-good stories of Real Madrid’s season so far. The Uruguayan has shown that he can fill in anywhere in the midfield three and that he can contribute both in defence and attack. Game by game, he grows in confidence and his future looks so bright. He’s only 21 years of age! But can he add goals to his game? Valverde had yet to score for Real Madrid’s first team in 33 appearances, while he didn’t score while on loan for Deportivo La Coruña in any of his 25 matches either. Interestingly, he has two goals in 18 caps for Uruguay, even scoring on his debut vs Paraguay and then hitting a stunning volley in a friendly against Panama earlier this year. Now he just needs to add those goals to his game at club level, and not pass up chances like the one Rodrygo put on a plate for him in the 30th minute tonight. Can he achieve this?
2. What does the future hold for Isco?
Isco came on in the second half for his fifth appearance of the season and the Spaniard entered to the sound of whistles. He hasn’t been his magical best for some time now and, after being one of the culprits of the Real Mallorca loss, some fans are growing impatient. With James Rodríguez back, with Fede Valverde performing well and with exciting young wingers, Isco has fallen way down the pecking order in this squad. Even when he wasn’t starting with other coaches, he was often the first man off the bench. Now that’s no longer the case. What does the future hold for the 27-year-old?
3. How will Ramos respond to his penalty ‘miss’?
The stats will never mention that Sergio Ramos had a penalty saved in this match. Juan Soriano had stepped off his line and, by the letter of the law, that requires a retake, with Ramos not passing up the second opportunity. However, everyone who watched the match and Ramos himself knows that he took a poor spot kick and it’ll be interesting to see how this affects his confidence from the spot going forward. Not since a wild 3-2 loss to Sevilla in May of 2018 had he missed a penalty. In that match he failed with one attempt and then scored with another and, including that one, he embarked on a run of 13 successful penalties in a row. With his tendency to dink in a Panenka, Ramos is one of the most confident penalty takers in football and his confidence has grown with each successful attempt. Will this ‘miss’ impact him next time he puts the ball on the spot? We’ll have to wait to see, especially after he gave the second penalty of the game to Karim Benzema, a decision that might have been influenced by his earlier mishap.