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Immediate Reaction: Real Madrid 6 - Galatasaray 0, 2019 Champions League Group Stage

Madrid executed Zidane’s game-plan to perfection, blitzing their Turkish counterparts and scoring three goals within the opening 15 minutes. Rodrygo stole the headlines with a hat-trick

Real Madrid v Galatasaray: Group A - UEFA Champions League Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

The Champions League anthem rang through the Bernabeu and what ensued was a Real Madrid onslaught. Within 15 minutes, the boys in white had scored three unanswered goals. Zidane’s “once de gala” features two fresh faces – 21-year-old Fede Valverde and 18-year-old Rodyrgo Goes. The latter, was simply sensational. Tonight he announced himself to the world with two goals within the opening six minutes. From around 15 yards from goal, Rodyrgo took a delicate touch with his right, as if passing it to his left foot, and then slotted the ball into the bottom corner. The composure and confidence exuded was that of a player 10-12 years his senior, not one of a teenager.

His second goal was a product of the high press imposed by Madrid, Galatasaray simply could not escape. Marcelo – a constant in the Real Madrid attack—picked out his fellow Brazilian who powered his header into the far corner. And less than 10 minutes later, a clumsy tackle from N’Zonzi on Toni Kroos inside the box meant Real Madrid had a chance for their third. Some had hoped for Rodrygo to be given the nod to complete his 12-minute hat-trick, but the captain kept hold of his mantle and produced one of his trademark cheeky paneka’s. The team cruised through most of the half and capped off a near perfect 45 minutes with a 4th goal, this time Rodrygo played provider. The Brazilian disposed Nagatomo high up the pitch and slotted the ball across goal for Benzema to tap-in.

For Zidane, his game-plan was executed Zidane’s to perfection. Fullbacks were providing overloads in the attack, Hazard and Rodrygo were ever-present in the half spaces, Valverde operated between the lines in a more advanced role, while the whole back line pushed as high as possible, incorporating Casemiro into what looked like a high back 5 suffocating Galatasaray and preventing them from exiting their own half. Zidane’s men would overload one side of the pitch, forming triangles and playing quick one-two interchanges, before switching the field to the unmarked fullback – in most cases, to Dani Carvajal. It was clockwork for Real Madrid and Galatsaray had no answer. The only sour news was an injury to Marcelo, what appears to be yet another muscle injury, forcing Mendy to enter in the 42nd minute. The Brazilian managed two assists while on the pitch and the understanding between himself, Hazard, and Benzema was so fun to watch.

The second half was a stroll in the park. Eden Hazard showed off a few tricks and flicks while Madrid mostly kept the ball and circulated it back and forth from side to side; it was match practice with no pressure. Casemiro, at long last, got 30 minutes of rest after Luka Modric took his place in the match, pushing Fede Valverde into the defensive midfielder role. Zidane’s last substitution was Isco for Hazard, with the former Malaga man nearly scoring from his first touch - a header off a corner kick! The shape slightly changed once Isco entered, as he occupied the space on the right wing, but had total freedom to roam where pleased. This meant Isco was often found in the center of the pitch threading passes. There was one pass in particular to Benzema, which nearly resulted in the fifth goal. That would be a preview of what was to come, Benzema would ultimately get his second and score Madrid’s fifth. Luka Modric picked out Dani Carvajal dashing down the right flank, with the fullback then driving the ball across goal for Benzema to net his second tap-in. But the match could not end without a final goal, a third goal, the hat-trick for Rodrygo Goes. The Turkish side only managed two shots on target for the entirety of the game. It was a statement from Real Madrid and a statement from young Rodrygo against an extremely poor Galatsaray side. Los Blancos now find themselves in a more comfortable position heading into the final two match days,

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