Madrid’s escapism maneuvers

Militão fights for a ball with Werner during Real Madrid-Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.

As the second half of Real Madrid-Chelsea was about to start, in the dressing room tunnel, Olivier Giroud approached Courtois and asked him how he had been able to get a goal that was already taken for granted from Timo Werner as soon as the game started. . The Belgian recreated his stop with his foot and the French, resigned, shrugged his shoulders and turned around. It is not known if the forward blue, without minutes this Tuesday, at some point he crossed the corridors of Di Stéfano with his compatriot Benzema, author and inventor of the tie, with whom he maintains a very complicated history to manage. The madridista, punished since 2015 without going with the national team for his involvement in the Valbuena case (alleged blackmail for a sex video), lowered Giroud, fixed on the world champion, to the category of “kart” while he he called himself a “Formula 1”.

The two, Courtois and Benzema, left the French striker and the entire London team with an aftertaste of disappointment and frustration at the insufficient loot after their brilliant start. The goalkeeper and the attacker returned to lead another exercise of resistance and escapism of Madrid in a season that has threatened several times with collapse, but that the non-negotiable of Zidane, with specific help from the second and third step, have managed to stretch to the end a blow to the kidney. These two pillars were joined in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals by a true secondary less than a month ago, Éder Militão (São Paulo, 23 years old). The Brazilian, the last in line on the list of centrals until injuries and covid rescued him from the storage room, added his eighth title in a row and stood out in the thorniest and most decisive duel so far this year.

Accompanied by Carvajal, Nacho, Varane and Marcelo, each with no less than ten years of experience in the club, his voice sounded louder than ever in Valdebebas against a rival who cornered the whites in the first act. A step forward reflected in the statistics: he ended up as the Real Madrid player who made the most successful tackles (six), the most anticipations (three), the most good dribbles (two) and the second, after Kroos, who made the most successful passes (62 ), which speaks of how he stood out in the attempt to contain a team that overwhelmed the locals at the beginning. Overcome at the start the Casemiro-Modric-Kroos trio, and the team often split in the center, the rear suffered alone the waves of Chelsea in that first half hour, which could well sentence the tie.

While waiting for the trance at Stamford Bridge, the meeting finished rehabilitating Militão before a summer with many pending issues in the offices about the future employment of other defenders of the squad, practically the rest (Ramos, Varane, Lucas Vázquez, Marcelo and Nacho). His resurrection in spring, after months on the edge, illustrates Madrid’s ability to find solutions to extreme situations, as were Lucas Vázquez or Nacho before. In addition, the appearance of the Brazilian together with the good Vinicius against Liverpool serves to alleviate, at least a little, the great feeling of fiasco that had been imposed by the strong disbursement of 2018 and 2019 (no less than 460 million) and that so few results had given so far. So far, it has served to help “stay alive,” as Zizou recalled up to three times on Tuesday. The French coach, in full vindication in recent months, does not stop remembering every time he goes out in public that they continue with options in the League and Champions after telling himself that he “was already on the street” and that “the players were worth nothing” .

One day with Vinicius, another with Militão, at the helm of the resistance there are always Courtois and Benzema. The Frenchman has once again been alone in the lead. The Brazilian and Asensio, very active a few weeks ago, have disappeared again. In the five games following the classic, only Benzema has been able to produce in attack. Against Cádiz, double and assist; and against Chelsea, a target as beautiful as it is palliative in the midst of a stunned phase. Five minutes earlier, a shot at a stick had been fabricated. There was no more shot on goal in the premises than his. Beyond his presence, little or nothing, as was evident in Getafe with him on the starting bench. The Spaniard has barely added two shots between the three clubs against Betis in this flurry of crashes and the winger, four attempts. Zero goals between the two.

And from end to end, Benzema is as decisive as Courtois, author of a miraculous intervention per day. In the quarter-round against Liverpool, another foot to a shot from Salah contained the impulsive start of the reds and this Tuesday against the blue avoided greater evils. In the absence of the square of the Casemiro-Modric-Kroos triangle, both plus Militão kept Madrid hopeful for the return despite an unfavorable result (1-1).

With the cards counted and crossing a very long precipice, the whites have been performing escapism maneuvers for eight months, as if they were a Love of Lesbian album.

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