Amidst the horrific scenes that unfolded at Mestalla on Sunday evening, there was a football match taking place as Real Madrid took on Valencia in what ended with a 1-0 defeat where the scoreline was the least of anybody’s concerns.
Diego López, the 21-year-old striker making only his second LaLiga start, scored his first senior goal by creeping in at the far post to give Valencia the lead with what would prove to be the only goal of the game.
Here, we highlight three stats that stand out from the rest to analyse the action.
8: Complaints for racist insults against Vinícius Júnior this season in LaLiga
With this complaint against Valencia fans, the number of complaints for racist insults against Vinícius climbs to eight for the season in LaLiga.
When you consider that Real Madrid have played 18 away matches in LaLiga this season, an Vini was rested against Elche and suspended against Real Sociead, that means that complaints have been made for racist insults against the Brazilian in 50% of the matches that he has played away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu this season.
It’s a staggering stat. LaLiga president Javier Tebas shared it himself on Twitter, and it shows that there is no end to this ongoing problem. But it does reflect the severity and gravity of a very serious situation.
On the field, Vini suffered more fouls than anybody else with three against him, and also became the youngest Real Madrid player to be sent off in LaLiga in the 21st century at 22 years and 313 days.
4: Consecutive away defeats in all competitions
4-2 to Girona, 2-0 to Real Sociedad, 4-0 to Manchester City and now 1-0 to Valencia means that it’s four straight defeats on the road for Real Madrid. Unfortunately for Carlo Ancelotti, the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna at La Cartuja counts as a neutral fixture with neither side possessing home advantage.
This has only happened twice before this century, once in February 2002 under Vicente del Bosque and another time under Julen Lopetegui in October 2018. For Lopetegui, the last of those four was the 5-1 defeat at Camp Nou which brought the curtain down on his tenure in charge of the club.
It’s an unwanted club for Carlo Ancelotti to join, but comes in a very different context. Defeats to Girona, Real Sociedad and Valencia have not concerned many given that the LaLiga title race was over long ago, but the one to Manchester City in the Champions League appears to be season defining.
The next away fixture, and only one left this season, is away to Sevilla at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán next Saturday evening. With José Luis Mendilibar getting the Andalusians back to their best since his appointment, Ancelotti will be hoping that they have one eye on their Europa League final only a few days later to avoid setting new records.
1.44: xG from Karim Benzema’s 14 shots since he last scored
One of the themes that has continued throughout Real Madrid’s recent run of games has been the worrying form of Karim Benzema. Since his hat-trick against Almería, the Frenchman has now played every minute of four games without scoring, failing to convert with 14 shots in a row which added up to 1.14 xG.
Benzema is now enduring his longest goal drought since October when he went five games without scoring, including an injury break during that stint. This is his longest run of consecutive games without injury without a goal since July 2020 when he also went four games without scoring.
With the transfer window on the horizon, ending the season on a low will only fuel more speculation. At 35, it’s expected to see a downturn in his form and performances, as we are currently seeing, but it could give Real Madrid a decision to make. Will they gamble on having him as their first choice striker knowing that such goal droughts are likely to continue? Or is it time to relegate him to second choice? Tough decisions lie ahead for Real Madrid, and few will be tougher than predicting the future of Karim Benzema’s form.