Overcoming a resilient Atletico Madrid side, Real Madrid made it to their fifth consecutive semi-finals in the Champions League as they await a date with the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Juventus. A 1-0 win on aggregate was enough to see Carlo Ancelotti’s team through but are they ready for the real European test?
With Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Benzema injured, Real Madrid were left exposed on Europea s most elite stage as Carlo Ancelotti played Sergio Ramos in a make-shift midfield role. Despite having Illarramendi, Lucas Silva and Sami Khedira in the squad, the Italian maestro chose to go with a defender in a midfield role, a gamble that could have gone either way. While many consider this move to be pragmatic, this decision to play an extra defender clearly shows that Carlo Ancelotti is not confident of Real Madrida s defensive line and if he has to play three centre-backs against the likes of Atletico Madrid, how will the Italian deal with the strike force of Juventus, Barcelona and Champions League?
Choosing Sergio Ramos ahead of other available midfielders has also highlighted the lack of depth in Real Madrida s squad. Brought on as Xabi Alonsoa s replacement the summer before last, Illarramendi has failed time and again to rise to the occasion. With Alonso suspended for the Champions League finals last season, it was considered to be Illarramendia s big moment at Real Madrid. However the Spaniard clearly failed to impress Carlo Ancelotti and seems to have been unable to earn his trust in his second season at the club. Lucas Silva on the other hand is branded as a one for the futurea and hence was discarded as an option in the midfield. Sami Khedira on the other hand is on his way out and it seems that he could lead an exodus at Madrid.
And while Sergio Ramosa presence wasna t exploited by Atletico Madrid, Pep Guardiolaa s Bayern Munich along with Barcelona and Juventus have the potential to wreck havoc against a midfield duo of Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos. Though a strong defensive presence in the midfield, Ramos did not contribute much to the team while going forward, barring a few moments of genuine inspiration. The Spaniard spent too much time on the ball, allowing Atletico to regroup and at times and worse, even take the ball off him.With Luka Modrica s date of return not confirmed yet, Carlo Ancleotti will be hoping to provide for a solution to his midfield conundrum as the semi-finals loom large on the horizon.
However, the return of Gareth Bale will ease Real Madrida s problem as it will give Ancelotti the option of playing either Isco or James Rodriguez in the midfield alongside Toni Kroos. Meanwhile Isco seems to have set the alarm bells ringing at Santiago Bernabeu with his post match comments where he admitted that he was not a happya with his role at Real Madrid. Speaking about his position, Isco said that was a not upset, but not very happy either. But again, I know it’s hard to play in this cluba .