On Saturday, October 28, Real Madrid came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over bitterest rivals Barcelona. It was a clear declaration of intent from the 34-time La Liga champions, with them proving they were good enough to challenge for the title even without the goalscoring prowess of Karim Benzema.
On Sunday night, November 5, the optimism and goal-front confidence went for a toss as Rayo Vallecano held the mighty Madrid to a goalless draw at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The stalemate in Madrid saw Carlo Ancelotti’s side slip to second place in the La Liga standings, allowing Girona to open up a two-point lead and move to the top of the table. Xavi’s Barcelona are currently in third place, with them sitting two points adrift of Los Blancos.
Real Madrid Were Wasteful Against Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid did not exactly play poorly against Rayo Vallecano, but they were undeniably wasteful.
Usually an efficient finisher, Federico Valverde saw his effort saved in the fifth minute after going clean through on goal. The team’s only center-forward, Joselu Mato, had a gilt-edged opportunity to put his team in front in the 26th minute when Luka Modric found him inside the box with a supple delivery, but the Spaniard could not keep his effort on target.
Shortly after, Jude Bellingham found Fran Garcia with a clever pass. Unfortunately for the Bernabeu faithful, the left-back got his calculations all wrong and sent his effort sailing over the bar. In the 43rd minute, Madrid hero Bellingham clipped the crossbar after outsmarting three defenders on the edge of the area.
Vinicius Junior hit the back of the net shortly into the second half, but the goal was ruled out for offside after Joselu was caught in an offside position in the build-up. Substitute Rodrygo tried to impact the game with a couple of neat efforts, but they were not venomous enough to beat the in-form Stole Dimitrievski.
Real Madrid Need Another Natural Center-Forward In The Roster
Joselu, whom Real Madrid signed on loan from Espanyol, has been pretty good this season, scoring five times and providing two assists in 14 matches across competitions. However, he has not been as clinical Madrid need him to be. In La Liga, he has attempted 30 shots so far, only 14 of which have been on target. Out of those 14, a mere five have ended up in the back of the net.
Real Madrid could benefit from a more clinical center-forward, one who can take the burden off the likes of Vinicius Junior and Bellingham in the business end of the season. Some reports have credited Madrid with an interest in Napoli ace Victor Osimhen, and given the circumstances, it might not be a bad idea for them to make a move for him in the January transfer window.