The Madrid media is looking for someone to blame as Real Madrid looked on the golden brick road towards winning a championship, but two matches and three days later finding themselves behind their two rivals. There are many to blame, and even though Cristiano Ronaldo scored in both matches, he shares a big part of it.
Right now the scapegoat seems to be Gareth Bale. Why? Because during Sevilla’s equalizing goal, which was mostly about genius bit of inspiration from Ivan Rakitic eventually converted by Carlos Bacca, he was on the sidelines switching shoes. It probably wouldn’t have mattered that he’d be on the pitch or not. Bale isn’t a left back, and hasn’t been making too much of an effort defensively over the last two seasons. However, when you’re trying to understand how from a 31 match unbeaten streak you lose twice in a row: El Clasico and to Sevilla, every little thing becomes important.
With no referees to blame, it’s even harder. Xabi Alonso made a huge mistake in the first half that gave Sevilla their equalizing goal. He has been one of the big reasons why Real Madrid have looked so stable and organized over the last few months, but he has been very poor, like many of his teammates, in the match against Barcelona and Sevilla.
Raphael Varane, recently returning to action, is also somewhat responsible. The French centre back truly looked like a rising force in European football last season, but he is having a hard time coming back. He wouldn’t have been playing if it wasn’t for the Sergio Ramos suspension, but his hesitance in attacking the ball when someone’s coming at him might have cost Real Madrid the goal.
Everyone has been after Diego Lopez recently. He has played very well since taking over for Iker Casillas last season, but suddenly, a couple of so-so performances from him and everyone is calling for Casillas to return. The same Iker who seemed to be forgotten on the bench, because there was a consensus that Lopez was playing well enough to stay in the lineup, no matter who the name he’s leaving on the bench is.
And Ronaldo? He has his numbers, sure. But looking at what he did to get his latest goals shows a picture of a huge star who has simply disappeared in what might be the two most important matches of the league this season, two matches in which a championship might be lost. Ronaldo, unlike Messi, has only one thing to do when things aren’t going well for him: Simply shoot more. He scored in the Clasico through a penalty kick that he won by diving outside the box. It was a foul, but not a penalty. His goal against Sevilla? Yes, a dive outside the box, a bad free kick that hit Bacca and tricked Beto, allowing Ronaldo to pick up another goal he doesn’t deserve.
With things not going his way, he moved to the middle of the attack, and got lost among the Sevilla defenders. Instead of dropping back a bit to try and free up the pressure and possibly allow himself a bit of freedom, he ran away from responsibility. Maybe it was a tactical error from Ancelotti, or maybe it was simply Ronaldo doing whatever he wants to, making the wrong decision this time. Whatever it was, when this season will be over and people talk about what might have cost Real Madrid the championship, his performances in the two matches against Barcelona and Sevilla will show up as a huge reason.