It was a rough outing for many of Real Madrid’s players last night at Estadio Príncipe Felipe in Cácares, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men scraped by a feisty Cacareño side, winning 0 - 1 and booking their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
Many first team players took the field, and still struggled. In some ways, that’s quite normal for Real Madrid in Copa del Rey, even against the smallest teams.
The team needed Rodrygo Goes to step up and score a golazo — and they got it. They could’ve also gotten more from a rare Eden Hazard cameo, but the Belgian struggled to make an impact.
Hazard, who started as Real Madrid’s false 9, had most of his touches on the left. But nearly all of his touches were outside the box, and he struggled with his link-up play. On the ball, the Belgian had zero dribble attempts, just one key pass, lost possession five times, had one successful challenge, and his 24 touches were the lowest of any Real Madrid starter.
While there was no emphatic superstar performance by anyone, there was a steep contrast in the play of Hazard and Rodrygo — the latter of which played with lots of intent to break lines and make his presence known.
Of course, he scored a brilliant game-winning goal, but even before that, was active trying to dribble through Cacareño’s lines. Some of his dribbling failed and looked awkward due to the state of the pitch, as our own Kiyan Sobhani and Sam Sharpe discussed on last night’s Managing Madrid Podcast, but without his well-intentioned runs, Real Madrid’s offense would’ve struggled even more.
On the night, Rodrygo had one goal, 39 touches, five dribbling attempts, and six successful challenges.