The start of the Champions League campaign and the chase after the Decima couldn’t have gone any better for Real Madrid, with Cristiano Ronaldo getting his scoring groove on with a hat trick while Isco provided another example of why he has been the perfect signing for the club this summer, leaving his fingerprints on almost anything good that happened on the pitch before he was substituted.
In a match that started out with a sense of slight caution due to Galatasaray’s performance against Real last season in the knockout stages, continued with Iker Casillas realizing that there just might some kind of curse on him preventing him from being the number one keeper on the team, and was followed by Isco opening the scoring for Real Madrid with a brilliant finish of an Angel di Maria pass, Cristiano Ronaldo was there in the second half to make things look a lot easier, scoring a hat trick in 28 minutes, leading to a 6-1 win inside the Turk Telekom Arena.
For those who waited to see an impressive Real Madrid, that was what the second half was for. The impressive front line of Ronaldo, Benzema and Angel Di Maria had no problem, later joined by Gareth Bale, had no problem carving through the decimated Galatasaray defense, with the Turkish side giving up once the second goal came in the 63rd minute.
There are problems for Real Madrid that are easy to hide due to their incredible quality up front. Something in the midfield isn’t working well, which showed during the first half as Luka Modric and Sami Khedira struggled against Felipe Melo, but even when Galatasaray did get anywhere near the Real Madrid penalty box, Burak Yilmaz and Didier Drogba were completely alone and swarmed by Sergio Ramos and Pepe.
In the Spanish La Liga, the coordination between the two centre backs needs a lot of working on. Both are basically the same player – physically gifted defenders who are often too brave and rash in their decision making which can cause problems. However, against the very slow and predictable Galatasaray there were no serious mistakes to feel sorry about.
But even with those problems still needing Ancelotti’s attention, the ability Isco brings behind the forwards, in a somewhat slight change from what Mesut Ozil brought to the table, is good enough to hide Real’s problems. As we saw in their draw against Villarreal, the moment Isco is having a bad day, the entire team looks pretty bad for long stretches, suddenly reduced to individual efforts that seem desperate at some point.
Against Galatasaray, Isco was anything but bad. He left the pitch with a goal and an assist, being the man who was in charge of almost anything dangerous Real Madrid did during his 63 minutes on the pitch. Ancelotti realized that the second goal took all the fight out of Gala’s players, and could afford to make a chance that brought on more might up front and neglected the midfield.
The moment Cristiano Ronaldo smells blood, it’s impossible to throw him off the scent. Galatasaray weren’t in the mood to try and fight, so it ended in a humiliating home defeat, giving Real Madrid a lot of confidence heading back to the La Liga where some of their faults aren’t so easily hidden.