Real Madrid finally earned their first Champions League win of the year 2020 on Tuesday night. There’s so much to talk about, so let’s get in to it with three questions that were answered and three new questions that have come up from this 3-2 victory.
1. What would Zidane vs Conte Part One look like?
Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte go way back. They played together at Juventus for five years, appearing in 131 matches together. That means that Conte is inside the top 20 of Zidane’s most common teammates from his playing days. When Zidane was starting out as a coach, he even went back to Juventus to spend some time at the training ground learning from Conte. “The relationship is good, even if we don’t talk regularly,” Zidane said in his pre-match press conference as he explained the current status of the relationship. But, these are two footballing figures with a lot of history and they’re two coaches with very different personalities and even tactics. So, it was going to be interesting to see what their first ever competitive duel as coaches would look like and the truth is that it was a lot of fun in this five-goal thriller.
2. Was Lucas Vázquez fully recovered?
Lucas Vázquez was a doubt for this game after suffering an issue against Huesca at the weekend, but he recovered enough to make the squad and to then start this game. But, would he be able to perform to his best and deal with Ashley Young? Yes, was the answer. Perhaps he was a little slow to react on the second Inter goal, but otherwise this was yet another excellent performance from the Spaniard in the right-back spot. He threw so much energy and hard work at this game that you almost had to wonder if he was the perfect player to start this game against a team whose main tactical wrinkle is their love of wing-back play.
3. Would Sergio Ramos hit 100 goals?
He had been one goal away for over a week and Ramos didn’t leave us waiting any longer. By scoring Real Madrid’s second goal against Inter, he bagged his 100th for the club across all competitions and became just the 19th player ever to reach a century of goals for the capital city club. Most impressively, he is the first out-and-out defender to achieve this milestone. Fernando Hierro did so too, but he did play some seasons in midfield. Ramos, though, has been a defender through his 15 years at Real Madrid, whether at right-back or centre-back, and has now added an extra layer to his already incredible legacy.
1. What’s the situation in the group?
With these three points in the bag, focus now turns to the overall group situation. Borussia Mönchengladbach lead the way with five points after thrashing Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0. Then, Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk are both on four points and Inter are on two. It’s so tight and this opens it up for Real Madrid to even win the group. The fact that all four teams are so good means that they’ve been taking points off each other and this means that the group could be won with a very low points total.
2. How durable will Hazard be?
Hazard had to go off with a knock, something Zidane admitted in his post-match press conference. He suffered three fouls in an hour and this follows on from 2019/20 when he was fouled 4.1 times per 90 minutes. That was the root of his main injury issues last year, which were mostly contact injuries and mostly in his right ankle. So, how durable is he going to be this season? Can he stay healthy and survive the constant fouling?
3. Where will this fixture be played in the future?
Including this match, the last four competitive matches between Real Madrid and Inter have been held at four different venues. This game took place at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano. Then the previous two meetings were in the groups of the Champions League in 1998/99 and were held at the San Siro in Milan and at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in Seville. That’s because Real Madrid were banned from playing at the Bernabéu following the incident with the goalposts against Borussia Dortmund. Then, the meeting before that, in 1986, was at the Bernabéu in the UEFA Cup. So, where will the next meetings be? We know that they’ll play at the San Siro next, but where after that? Will the next meeting be held at a brand new stadium in Milan? Possibly.
The last four venues for this fixture
- 4th November 2020: Real Madrid 3-2 Inter. Di Stéfano.
- 25th November 1998: Inter 3-1 Real Madrid. San Siro.
- 16th September 1998. Real Madrid 2-0 Inter. Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
- 2nd April 1986. Real Madrid 5-1 Inter. Bernabéu.