New Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez saw a starting eleven worth over £250M held to a goalless draw away to Las Palmas in their La Liga opener. Despite naming a side with Gareth Bale, Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo as a trio of attacking-midfielders, the Spaniards just couldn’t find the breakthrough, and are now already behind defending champions Barcelona in the table after just one game.
“I knew it would be a match where Sporting would push us hard. We needed to be fast and accurate, but took many shots but without precision. In the first half we gave Sporting options. We must improve in that regard. We need to work harder. Our reaction in the second half was good. We showed character and personality. I’m happy with what I saw in the second half. I remain optimistic. Sporting played very well, they were very tidy,” said Rafael Benitez following the game.
Benitez has an embarrassment of riches in the squad, and was allowed to spend a further £60M in this summer’s transfer market to strengthen the side. However, it’s so far not paying dividends early in the new season. Real were guilty of profligacy against Sporting, with so many of their shots coming from distance and failing to hit the target.
It’s long been a problem of Real’s when they come up against a defensively organised side, and they’ll be hoping the goals flow in their next game. Stifling the attacking powers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale won’t help the side’s cause, and the Los Blancos boss could already be considering putting more emphasis on creating clear cut chances, rather than pot-shots from distance.
Benitez was brought in this summer to turn the side in title-winners after so many years of disappointment, but he’ll quickly lose the supporters if things don’t improve fast. The Real fans are expecting success, but their track record suggests they’ll be in for more disappointment this season.
It’s tough task balancing the side out, as well as ensuring their attacking prowess hasn’t been disrupted, and Real have fallen short year after year. The Spanish giants are looking to be more defensively resilient to control more games, as in the past they have conceded goals on a regular basis by being caught to high up the pitch. And while a 0-0 result isn’t too much to worry about in the opening game of the Spanish La Liga, Real can’t afford too many dropped points early on.