Players have been quick to brush aside that poor pre-season is a prelude for the form when the real games begin. Chelsea have been the perfect example of a team failing to recover from a poor pre-season. Real Madrid may offer more examples of the same after only managing a 0-0 draw against Sporting Gijon in the opening game of the new la Liga 2015-16 season. Madrid were expected to challenge for the title from the word go. Carlo Ancelotti was relieved from his duties in favour of Rafa Benitez – a manager who has won the la Liga title in the past.
Last season, the lack of a team effort shone as the major reason for Madrid failing to get any silverware at the end. The team was too individualistic in nature with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema looking to become headline makers. Of course, these two have been hugely successful in this aspect during their careers, but last season was a perfect example of how individualistic nature spoils the team’s pursuit of objectives. Benitez said:
“I knew it would be a match where Sporting would push us hard. We needed to be fast and accurate but took many shots but without precision. In the first half we gave Sporting options.
“We must improve in that regard. We need to work harder. Our reaction in the second half was good. We showed character and personality.
“I’m happy with what I saw in the second half. I remain optimistic. Sporting played very well, they were very tidy.”
There was more for Madrid fans to witness in the game against Sporting Gijon. Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and Isco were more interested in getting off the mark for the campaign and they often failed to notice a teammate in a much better position. Still, Madrid could have easily won the game for the amount of chances that they had in the 90 minutes. A whopping eight shots on target was not enough to beat goalkeeper Pichu Cuéllar, who had one of those nights. There is little doubt that the draw against Sporting can be classified as a freak result, but it does showcase areas where Madrid have made little improvements even after the arrival of Rafa Benitez.
Benitez will have to find a way to make all the superstars like Ronaldo, Bale, and Benzema fit into the same starting line-up. Madrid is a club that is far too political for even a Champions League winning manager like Benitez and he cannot get away with dropping one of those players for the benefit of the team. The former Liverpool boss will have to find a way to gel these three superstars. Period.
It may not take long for Madrid to get their first win of the season, but it has to be an impressive one. Real Betis are their next opponents.