Real Madrid came to Manchester with a difficult task. To overcome a 1-2 against Guardiola's Manchester City. The team that had won LaLiga on the basis of a solid defence seemed sufficient to score two goals in England. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lately Spain is not Europe. And in football, neither.
Zidane is not good at tactics. The board is not his thing. Nor does he study his opponent too much. He doesn't change his drawing during the game. All of that is big for him. The Frenchman has been sitting at the table of the best coaches because of his ascendancy over the players. Because of that charisma of "being you who you are" in the locker room. He is so respected that Casemiro said in the previous match that he still gets nervous when the coach talks to him. But this way he has achieved three consecutive Champions and to pass the history of Real Madrid in the field and in the bench. Something unprecedented in 118 years.
The match against City needed a dedicated strategist. It wasn't about waiting and reacting, it was about proposing and setting a plan. That plan never existed in Zinedine's head. Nor did he do anything during the match and Vinicius stayed on the bench to Guardiola's relief. But for the battle he had the best warriors except Ramos. The number one warrior who contributed more from the stands than some on the field. He even had Bale. The physical prodigy who still plays for Real Madrid seven years later and who has no intention of leaving.
A year ago the Frenchman wanted Gareth Bale to leave as soon as possible. A year later he made it public at the pre-match press conference that he had preferred not to play. Not to play in good health. Not to play without personal problems. Not to play without just cause. One of the most important assets of the white club decided that he was not going to do what he is paid to do as the best in the team.
Tell your boss tomorrow that you will not be attending the annual results presentation or a key meeting for the future of the company because you prefer to stay at home. Tell him and get in line for unemployment before finishing the sentence. The situation with the Welshman is one of the most complex in Real Madrid in years. A transfer of almost 100 million euros - already amortized - that is capable of doing wonders on the pitch, winning titles and scoring goals when they need him most, but burdened by injuries. So far, so good. But when his disposition is capable of putting a player of his level on the bench, something goes wrong. It will be golf, it will be his representative, it will be his lack of integration, it will be the crushing press... whatever it is, it will bury all the good things he has achieved the day he leaves.
If Bale is to blame for Real Madrid's Champions League play-off by default, Varane is to blame. Direct action in two unacceptable plays where he failed to concentrate. The absence of Ramos at the back left Real Madrid without a soul. The team that before was supported on the competitiveness of Cristiano Ronaldo now does it in the brio of Ramos. No Ramos, no party.
Varane's companion of fatigue disappeared and next to him arrived a laborious Militao that has already turned around several times the little click of "Limitao". The couple did not know each other and did not have time to get intimate before the match. Varane without the orders of Ramos and Militao obfuscated in defending as it was everything that surrounded the area, did not make good pair. It would have been an acceptable job if it weren't for the Frenchman's two mistakes that turned into two English goals.
Varane was in Manchester. Bale, no. Varane made a mistake and asked to appear before the media to totally assume the defeat and sign the blurred photo in the album that one day will change for another one raising a title. Bale won't do anything. He won't say anything. In Madrid, alternating the PGA with his team's match. Without thinking about his future because he knows he'll still be in Madrid. Florentino has already announced that there will be no big transfers. Nor big departures. Bale, his clause and his salary are not of this world. Next season Zidane will have a diamond in the glove compartment. But the Frenchman has it clear: Real Madrid, Real Madrid and Real Madrid. In that order.