2019 was a whirlwind of emotions for Real Madrid fans, and for many, just a year to erase from the history books. We asked the crew to write about one random memorable moment anyway.
Rodrygo scoring on his Liga debut
Lucas Navarrete: Rodrygo’s goal against Osasuna is not only a beautiful one, it also symbolizes what’s to come for Real Madrid in the future. The fact that he managed to find the back of the net on his debut in La Liga --also his first scoring chance-- speaks volumes about how composed and mature he already is as a player. It’s clear that Rodrygo still has room for improvement, though. He’s been a bit gun shy during his last few performances and it’s ultimately cost the team, especially against Valencia in Mestalla, but keep in mind that the right wing is not his natural position and he’s still 18 years old.
Rodrygo’s appearance against Osasuna and his hat-trick when Madrid faced Galatasaray happened while the team was desperately trying to find some encouraging signs for the future. Real Madrid have some very intriguing prospects in Vinicius, Jovic, Militao, Odegaard or Achraf, but Rodrygo might as well be the one destined to lead this team in five years time, so Zidane will soon have to find him minutes where the Braziliant talent is more comfortable: at the left wing.
The rise of Reguilon
Matt Wiltse: Like any Madridista, I love a good Caterano success story. Sergio Reguilon bursting onto the scene and playing well in every-single-game he featured in for Real Madrid was no doubt one of those success stories. The now 23-year-old has played for Real Madrid at every level of their youth categories. He started at the age of eight and worked his way up through the system to Castilla. He obviously then became a full fledged first team player.
The cherry on top of his meteoric rise of a season was his first performance against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 2nd. This kid, again a relative unknown the season prior while playing in Castilla, was unarguably one of the best players on the pitch. Not only did he make countless tackles, anticipated and intercepted countless loose passes, delivered inch-perfect crosses, and sprinted up and down the flank all night long, but he adored himself to the Madrid faithful by spatting with both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Let’s not forget he also ticked off Gerard Pique for trying to rally the crowd. It doesn’t get better than that for us Madrid fans.
After the matches against Barcelona, even Jose Mourinho came out lavishing praise on young Reguilon, ”One of the players that showed that traditional Real Madrid desire, a boy who competed against Barcelona, was just a kid, Sergio Reguilon, who had a very good approach in both matches.” Reguilon’s attitude in those matches, his fearlessness, the personification of Real Madrid’s value showcased on a football pitch – that will be a Real Madrid moment from 2019 that I will always cherish. The results against our eternal rivals left a lot to be desired, but the academy graduate proved once and for all that he belonged.
Lucas Vazquez’s goal at Camp Nou
Kristofer McCormack: It’s inherently difficult to pick a favourite moment from 2019 because its been a bad year to be a Real Madrid fan. Nonetheless, Lucas Vazquez’s goal at the Camp Nou will certainly be something I will remember fondly.
Although I generally oversell my love and rating of Lucas Vazquez, I do genuinely have affection for the Spanish winger. For alot of people, Vazquez is a player that shouldn’t be anywhere near Real Madrid. He’s not evidently talented, not flashy nor expensive and is far from a household name and yet for a large part of his career at the club, he’s been the 12th man and has contributed significantly in that role (despite what his critics might think). He scored a penalty in Milan, managed to break into the club’s starting 11 for a time and, at his best, produced some really unexpectedly good numbers.
In this sense, scoring at the Camp Nou was the perfect summation of Vazquez’s time at Real Madrid. Some would argue he has no business being anywhere near a Copa del Rey semi final and yet there he was, opening the scoring and celebrating like a footballer with twice the amount the clout he actually has.
The fearlessness of a fledgling left flank
Kiyan Sobhani: In the build-up to the worst week in (maybe) Real Madrid history — the back-to-back bloodbath against Barcelona and Ajax which I unfortunately witnessed first hand — there were some fun and exciting moments that I will remember when looking back on 2019.
And, to be clear, I won’t look back very fondly on Real Madrid’s 2019 when I look at it years from now. I will just merely point something out: It was the year we wrote off, but witnessed the rookie seasons of Vinicius Jr and Sergio Reguilon — two players who I believe will be a part of the team for years to come.
It’s funny — just before the week from hell, Real Madrid had an exciting stretch of games. Before losing to Barcelona at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid had two games where Vinicius and Reguilon worked really well together on the left flank. As Matt pointed out above, Reguilon had a way about him in the Clasico where he stood his ground against Suarez and Messi, and gave us a nice dose of his Madridismo. Similarly, I loved the way Vinicius carried himself too — not only against Barcelona where he gave Gerard Pique all kinds of problems — but also in an ensuing game at the Wanda Metropolitano, where he and Reguilon worked really well together on that left side on both ends of the field. Reguilon was great defensively, and Vinicius — who was getting barked at all game by Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin — gave Atletico all kinds of problems with his dribbling.
Sure, it turned out that Vinicius has a weakness (efficiency in front of goal), but that didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed his breakout season with the club.
Finally, a women’s team!
Jess Houwen: Aside from watching Diego Costa get ejected in the game in New Jersey, my favourite moment of 2019 had to be Real Madrid finally getting a women’s team. It’s been a rough season to date and while we’ve been at the bottom of the league, it’s been fun. Our first goal came against Barcelona in the first game of the season thanks to Jessica Martinez. Our next game was our first win, a 3-0 victory over Sporting Huelva. We ended the year in 11th place in the league with a decent buffer between us and the relegation zone. I can’t wait to see where 2020 takes us.