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Open Thread: January 20, 2021.

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Another issue of the Daily Merengue!

Real Madrid Training Session Photo by Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images

Hola Madridistas!

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail or Oscnar.

Tuesday Training at the Valdebebas

This was the last training session before the Wednesday Copa del Rey match against Alcoyano (9PM CET, 3PM EST). Sergio Ramos trained apart from the team while the knee recovers. Below El Capitán is doing some moderate running with the trainer, focusing on form:

Fede Valverde has a good crack on goal in a drill with a bouncing ball:

Benzema posts a chested goal of his in practice off a pinpoint cross from Mendy. It’s a legal but rarely used play (apart from Marcelo, naturally):

The 20 man squad for the trip to Alcoy

The notable absences are Ramos (knee), Carvajal (injury sustained during training), Rodrygo (thigh muscle), Modric and Odegaard. Lucas Navarrete wrote in detail about a possible reason for Odegaard’s absence.

Zidane Press Conference in Full

Most likely we all have seen by now that Zidane took the rare step of defending his managerial decisions regarding the playing minutes and departures of Hakimi, Reguilon, Jovic and now possibly Odegaard. Euan McTear penned a piece about this press conference.

It is also worth noting Zidane’s position about some of the players who leave Real Madrid after declaring that this is the team of their dreams:

“Madrid is difficult, I’ve experienced it as a player, and what Luka has done is go and play,” he noted.”I think it has been a good option to buy Luka and I am happy for him, and [I hope] for him to do the same one day in Madrid. But inside and outside [the club] it’s different.”He has a future, and he can show it at Madrid and it’s the same for everyone. Here there is always a very strong competition, but the coach is not to blame.”

Whether or not we agree with him, it is not the first time reference has been made to how the particular difficulty, pressure and competition involved at Real Madrid play a determinative role in the success, or lack thereof, of players at this team.

For a bit of background, here is a 2016 piece from AS about Mesut Özil talking about handling the pressure of coming to Real Madrid. Also, this is a piece from The Manchester Evening News with Javier Hernandez talking about the different kind of pressure at this club.