Real Madrid's Uncharacteristic Victory
By: Charles Xue
On Thursday, Real Madrid won their 34th Spanish League title after defeating Villarreal 2-1 in an intense, fast-paced thriller.
The odds were stacked against Real Madrid from the start. Real Madrid’s backbone players, Luka Modric, Karim Benzima, and Sergio Ramos have a combined age of 100. Usually, players reach their prime at ages 27-28. Club legend Gareth Bale, who was so unimportant in Zidane’s (the manager) tactics, he sat on the bench for over half of the season.
Real Madrid, one of the most decorated clubs in Spain, usually does not win like this. Typically, they will dominate every game with a combination of a rock-solid defense and offensive stars such as Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, and Luka Modric.
“This team has shown an ability to suffer,” Zidane, Real Madrid’s manager said before Thursday’s victory.
After the lockdown, Real Madrid has grinded out good results, winning all ten of their games. However, they had to do it without their stars. The two most expensive players on the team, Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale (both worth about $110 million), have both been off the pitch for a majority of the season. Hazard spent the season going coping with injuries, while Bale sat on the bench.
For comparison, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was transferred for only $43 million, and has scored 21 goals in 46 games in the 19/20 season, compared to Bale’s 3 goals in 20 games.
The Wall Street Journal states: “Real’s heroes post-pandemic wound up being the old guard. Benzema scored seven goals in 10 games. Ramos, now 34 years old, chipped in with five. The rest of the team combined for just seven more.”
Luckily for Real Madrid, their biggest rival, Barcelona, have been losing their grip, drawing three and losing one of its past ten games. The club has blamed La Liga’s Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for its poor performance.
“In the best league in the world, the VAR is not up to the task,” Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said recently. “It is not very equitable and it seems as if it is always favoring one side.”
However, Real doesn’t care how titles are won, just that they keep coming.
“In the end, it’s about whoever has the most points,” Zidane said after the final whistle. “Nothing else.”