Losing matches on the road isn’t something new for Real Madrid this season, dropping three points away from home for the fifth time this season. The real change comes from Cristiano Ronaldo, scoring the first own goal of his career in the only real incident in a terrible match for the La Liga champions.
It’s been clear for quite some time that Real Madrid won’t be crowned champions this season; not even battle for the title. Barcelona are too far ahead, failing to win in only two matches out of the 21 they’ve played. Not really a fair fight, but you expect Real, not even in second position, to be a bit hungrier, and simply better, even when not playing at home.
One thing is clear about this side, which hasn’t changed from last season – they don’t have the ability to put in a special effort in consecutive matches. Real Madrid were praised for their match against Barcelona midweek, but keeping the same kind of attitude and level of play a few days later in Granada was impossible for them. Jose Mourinho used the usual hints of fatigue harming his team, but in truth, even fatigue can’t explain such an awful display, resulting in only one or two actual shots at goal created.
Granada didn’t even need a shot at Diego Lopez. One corner, with Cristiano Ronaldo falling back to help his defense and sealing their fate for the 90 minutes, as the ball grazed his head and found itself in the net. After so many goals and heralded moments, Ronaldo completes pretty much every milestone, good or bad, he could have thought of.
Granada did their job, they scored their goal. They defended in the second half with all of their heart and soul. They have a new coach, new players and had a great night of football here with Real Madrid in front of them. They did everything that they could to get this result. We should have scored a goal but because of the great effort that Granada made, I think that the three points have gone to the team that deserved them.
Mourinho didn’t squirm his way out of criticism. He admitted his team played poorly, but obviously added the remarks about scheduling, which have been around since the day he took the job. The lineup he chose, the tactics and not to mention all the power struggles and social problems inside the dressing room, obviously affecting this team more than he’d care to admit, also point to him.
It’s hard to find one player to blame, but Luka Modric is a convenient face. Not just because of his ability, but the general idea of his arrival. Modric isn’t better than any of the players he can replace in their position. He doesn’t bring anything to the table that they don’t. Playing for Mesut Ozil meant hardly any creativity on the Real Madrid attack; it meant Angel di Maria wasn’t felt for almost 90 minutes; it meant Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo hardly had anything to do with the ball.
When you spend €40 million on a single player, it should be for someone that upgrades your team, not just to add depth to the squad. Losing in Granada should be, on paper, a disgraceful result for the most decorated team in Spain and European football; under Jose Mourinho and another Galacticos era, it’s almost an acceptable result, going by this season.