‘The Sergio Ramos Game’ has finished as a 1-1 draw, with Sevilla and Real Madrid playing out a Saturday evening match that had a little bit of everything. From disallowed goals to scuffles to a David Alaba own goal and Dani Carvajal equaliser, there’s a lot to analyse and we do so here, answering three questions and asking three more.
1. Could Sevilla benefit from a new manager bounce?
Carlo Ancelotti issued a warning during the pre-match press conference, pointing to the fact that Sevilla had a new coach and that there was a chance of a new manager bounce. Would that prove to be the case? Would Diego Alonso be able to get the best out of this Sevilla squad that has really struggled to start the season? Yes. 100 percent. As we saw ahead of kick-off via the dressing room cameras, Alonso called on his players to remain a united 11 all game. And, he got a solid Sevilla performance from those 11. Real Madrid still managed to contain Los Rojiblancos for the most part, but Sevilla absolutely gave Real Madrid their best punch, and the spoils were shared.
2. Would the internationals be fresh enough?
It’s always tough for Real Madrid after an international break, but especially so this time around as they had a LaLiga-high 13 players away with their countries and this is one of the most difficult fixtures on the entire schedule. So, how would those who had been touring the world in midweek perform? Well, in the midfield, the likes of Valverde or Tchouaméni, the first to be substituted off precisely because of their accumulation of minutes, were both fine. Neither produced their best performance ever, logically, but both performed at a decent enough level. With the two Brazilians up front, fatigue seemed to be more of a factor. Neither Vinícius nor Rodrygo was their usual lively self, although that had also been the case with Rodrygo for several weeks, while we have to remember Vini is still getting back to full speed following his injury.
3. Would the RMTV video influence De Burgos Bengoetxea?
In the midweek before the game, some eyebrows were raised when RMTV put out a video about referee De Burgos Bengoetxea and some of the decisions he has given against Real Madrid over the years. The TV station was criticised for trying to influence the referee, but surely he wouldn’t pay any attention? Sure enough, De Burgos Bengoetxea refereed the game in his usual manner, and didn’t give very much in Real Madrid’s favour at all. Admittedly, with the two early goals, De Burgos Bengoetxea had no choice but to rule them both out, one because it was objectively offside and one because play had been blown dead. But, Madridistas can rightly feel angry that play was blown dead in the first place and with the overall performance for a lot of the other decisions in the game, most notably the non-call when Jesús Navas challenged Vinícius inside the area in the first half and the freekick given when the roles were reserved for a similar challenge in the second period. The RMTV editors certainly have some more material to work with next time around.
1. How strange was it to face Sergio Ramos?
This was always going to be ‘The Sergio Ramos Game’. It was the centre-back’s first match against Real Madrid since his departure in 2021 and his first game against the club since 2005, the last time he played in a Sevilla vs Real Madrid for the Andalusian side. And, Ramos lived up to the hype by coming close to scoring twice and by getting 100 percent stuck in, showing zero mercy to his former club. From grabbing Rüdiger’s cheeks to getting booked for a foul on Bellingham to shoving Vinícius during a brawl, Ramos was everywhere. How did it feel for all of you watching it?
2. Is Vinícius sprinting differently?
This was not a good game from Vinícius, which is understandable for a few reasons. As mentioned above, he was one of the internationals who returned late, after playing in Brazil’s clash with Uruguay, plus we have to keep in mind that he is still getting back to his best after his injury. That was the first serious injury of his career, and it’s normal that it might affect him. And, watching Vinícius, you wonder if he is still a little hesitant following that injury, as he doesn’t seem to be sprinting with the same power as he used to. Surely it will just be a matter of time before he’s back to his usual self, but it does seem that the aftereffects of that injury mean Vini isn’t back at 100 percent yet.
3. Should we all go on a gluten-free diet?
Dani Carvajal was the saviour for Real Madrid and the reason they can at least take a point back to the capital. His goal in this game was his first since August of 2021, while he also made a crucial headed goalline clearance in the first half – admittedly after he himself had lost possession. The right-back is acting like a captain should and having his best start to a season in years. That gluten-free diet he has started seems like it’s working.