There was never any question about Real Madrid going back to their winning ways, but it was still refreshing to see someone either than Cristiano Ronaldo be their best player on the pitch, with Angel di Maria proving his place is in the lineup, and at the moment is a better fit than an injured or healthy Gareth Bale.
FC Copenhagen managed to embarrass Real Madrid once, exposing once more just how bad Real Madrid are when it comes to corners and crosses, and also gave Iker Casillas chance or three near the ending to flex his muscles and get some applause from the home fans, waiting for a chance to spread some love on their (probably) favorite player.
But it was Angle di Maria with a dazzling display of dribbling and accurate crossing that stood out more than anyone else, as Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, improving his Champions League tally this season to give goals, and 55 overall. Di Maria gave Ronaldo one beautiful Rabona assist to make it 2-0 early in the second half finally breaking down the disciplined and stubborn Danish side, but did much more than that throughout the game.
Carlo Ancelotti opened once more with a two-defensive midfielder lineup, but his players and especially Marcelo and Di Maria were much more aggressive down the flanks than in the match against Atletico Madrid, which made it no surprise to see the Brazilian delivering the assist to the opening goal. However, Marcelo’s defensive weaknesses weren’t tested in this match, and that might keep him out of the lineup in other matches, although Fabio Coentrao hasn’t done much better this season.
Luka Modric got to start instead of Isco, and actually looked better than the young Spaniard, who probably needed some rest after two consecutive matches of not really impressing. Teams have caught on to the fact that he just might be Real Madrid’s most important player, and things look quite stuck when he’s’ off his game.
As for the Gareth Bale situation, Real Madrid knew he wasn’t fit when they brought him over, but started him for financial reasons. Now he’s injured, currently out until the Clasico on October 27. Bale will probably get a few minutes off the bench in a match before that, but right now, with Di Maria playing so well and the designated position not being Bale’s best in any case, it’s probably better for Real Madrid to have the Argentine in the lineup.
In the future? As good as Di Maria is, he’s part of a team that for the most part, hasn’t been good enough to take over the crown from Barcelona. Bale is supposedly an improvement, but maybe at some point, with Karim Benzema playing so awfully and continuing to miss easy opportunities and frustrate the home fans, we’ll start seeing other lineup that incorporate Bale, Ronaldo and Di Maria together.
Matches against Copenhagen don’t really measure up to what Real Madrid see in La Liga, but it’s a fantastic way to get back on track, while giving Di Maria the chance to prove how valuable he is to this team.