One word to describe Real Madrid making their debut in the league? Boring. A win, with goals from Karim Benzema and a howler from Cristiano Ronaldo, but that didn’t stop the fans from booing their players due to the slow and predictable play for most of the match.
Carlo Ancelotti used some evasive tactics when asked about it at the end of the match – He didn’t hear the boos, and Real Madrid fans always support the team. It’s just the first match, there are bound to be some problems. Arguably the team’s second best player is on his way out, as Angel di Maria is on the verge of signing for Manchester United. Ancelotti now has to start tinkering with all the talent he has before he finds the right mix.
For now, it feels slow and out of place. Early in the season, maybe it should. There was nothing new to Karim Benzema playing between Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the trio hardly found space to attack. Real Madrid have the ability to hold on to the ball a lot more now with Toni Kroos joining the midfield, but that style, at least for now, doesn’t exactly suit its three forwards unless Ronaldo comes up with some incredible long range shot. It’s not something that always happens.
James Rodriguez might have been the most disappointing player of all, and yet it was to be expected. In a 4-3-3, the last place for him to shine will be as the more advanced midfielder. Rodriguez isn’t exactly limited in the number of positions he can play, but right now, he isn’t going to give Real Madrid what they paid for if he keeps being misused. Part of why things look so lumbered and creaky was Rodriguez not having anyone to speed up play along with him.
For once, the Real Madrid defense didn’t show any signs of cracking. It was only Cordoba, a team that didn’t embarrass itself but didn’t really manage to create any pressure on a duo of centre backs (Sergio Ramos, Pepe) and a right back (Alvaro Arbeloa) who have the knack of making mistakes when under pressure or through set pieces.
This team should look a lot better in a few weeks, maybe more. But all the money in the world can’t create a team out of nothing. Until that happens, they’ll have to rely on Ronaldo creating goals out of nothing for a little bit longer.