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The spirit is back at the Bernabeu

The Spanish Super Cup victory will have the team running on a high.


Zinedine Zidane’s second round in charge at Real Madrid started off in a rut, with many spectators questioning the club’s capabilities to challenge other teams for any title. The team themselves seemed to be more low-spirited than usual too. But now, winning the Spanish Super Cup against Atletico Madrid is seeing things turn around.

When Sergio Ramos stepped up to the spot to take the last penalty kick against Jan Oblak, the players on the pitch, on the bench, and the coaching staff were all on edge. When he slotted it home, everyone instantly burst onto the pitch, jumping, congratulating each other with smiles ear to ear. A touching moment for a club that hasn’t won a trophy since 2018.

Winning this mid-season trophy has been the watershed moment for the club and has helped lift the team’s spirit as a group as they look to conquer LaLiga, UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey.

During both the semi-final against Valencia and the Madrid Derby final, every player had one thing in mind: victory. They came to win and weren’t prepared to leave without some silverware.

Prior to the tournament, everything was building up to this outpouring wave of confidence. Zidane’s men hadn’t lost a game since October 19 against Mallorca, performed well during big games against Valencia and Barcelona in the league and were tied with Barcelona at the top of the table.

One thing standing in their way however, was the dreaded list of injuries on the team.

For the tournament in Saudi Arabia, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema were all deemed unfit to play. On paper, making it to the final let alone coming home with the trophy was now a bigger mountain to climb. But the attitude from the team was just already in the right place.

Many were surprised, some even confused, when Zidane named five midfielders to his starting XI against Valencia, opting to leave forwards like Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Mariano Diaz as substitutes. But the combination of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Isco and Fede Valverde with Luka Jovic up top proved to be the right one as the team pulled away with a 3-1 victory.

The same eleven players were named to start the final as well. But could it go two for two? This time it wouldn’t be so easy.

Diego Simeone’s side did their homework and Atletico’s strong defence was able to stifle Real’s movement going forward forcing Zidane to switch to a regular 4-3-3 pattern later on towards the end of regular time.

Even though they were frustrated, and deadlocked after a full 90 minutes of play, every Real Madrid player still had just enough grit and fight to find a way to win the game over their rivals. (Big shoutout to Valverde).

The spirit continued into the penalty shootout where there was not one player who doubted another. Every penalty taker stepped up to the spot with their head held high, determination utmost confidence. Not one player missed. Thibaut Courtois in net, was a wall.

Now, the collective team performance that was on display in Jeddah will taking on a new form at the club which will be essential moving into the second half of the season. There’s enough spirit to go around, just look at their faces.

Everyone, whether they’re 18 years old or 34, embodies the assertiveness that has been missing from the club for a while.

Looking ahead, the team will face Sevilla on on Jan. 18, then has another match against Atletico on Feb. 1 all before meeting Manchester City in the round-of-sixteen of the UCL and FC Barcelona for the second El Clasico of the season.

Keeping this positive attitude moving forward is going to be the make or break moment in terms of the clubs 2019/20 success.

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