Five problems for Real Madrid after Champions League loss vs Man City

Real Madrid were dancing a waltz while heavy-metal Man City thrashed their guitars, ZZ was out-thought by Pep and Kroos was left in the cold: Five problems that cost the Spanish giants at the Bernabeu

  • REPORT – Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City: Pep Guardiola’s side now in box seat
  • City outclassed Madrid, with Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne sealing the win
  • The Spanish giants have it all to do to keep their season alive after latest setback
  • Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the five big problems facing Zinedine Zidane 

When Pep Guardiola became the first coach to win six times at the Bernabeu on Wednesday he didn’t just edge Manchester City closer to the last-16 of the Champions League, he left Real Madrid back on the brink of another crisis. 

They have now lost the lead in the league and a foothold in Europe in the space of four days. 

Here are five big conclusions drawn after the 2-1 defeat at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night…

Manchester City beat Real Madrid 2-1 thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne 


He’s a genius, he’s not a genius, the opinion on Zidane has always swung widely according to the latest result. Most commentators agreed he’d been out-thought by Guardiola on Wednesday night. 

With Madrid’s best out-field players Isco and Vinicius tiring he needed to do something in the second half but his changes only precipitated City’s comeback. He failed to see Dani Carvajal under siege at right back, and why was Toni Kroos not used? Pep’s Gabriel Jesus false-ninery exposed a Madrid weakness, Zidane had no riposte.

Pep Guardiola out-thought Zinedine Zidane in the Champions League on Wednesday night


‘One team was playing La Liga speed and the other team was playing Premier League speed – like dancing a waltz against some guys smashing up their guitars,’ wrote Marca columnist Jose Luis Hurtado. ‘How can this team be 22 points behind Liverpool? He asked. 

For a while in Spain there have been concerns that their big teams are being left behind by the pace of the English competition. Wednesday night reaffirmed that fear.

The result reaffirmed fear that the big teams in Spain are being left behind by those in England


No one passes it like Kroos and it was a mystery why, when the game slipped away from Madrid, he never even warmed up. Zidane was very clear when asked post match that he had not been injured. And as he left the stadium late on Wednesday night Kroos was asked if he was okay, and he replied ‘physically yes’. 

It seemed the only time he smiled was when he stopped to chat with Guardiola who he recently spoke fondly of in an interview. What was clear after Madrid’s defeat is that they need him. He keeps the ball and his set-pieces bring goals. If he is left out again on Sunday against Barcelona then suggestions of a rift with Zidane will gather pace. 

German midfielder Toni Kroos (centre) was an unused substitute for Zidane at the Bernabeu


‘The crucial week has arrived,’ said Sergio Ramos last weekend. ‘This is where you see the men, boys have to step aside.’ 

Ramos is great at battle cries and his heroics have saved Madrid so many times but sometimes a cool head gets a team further than a clenched fist. His red card meant he had been sent off more than anyone else in the Champions League and left the side without its leader in the second leg.

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos receives his marching orders late on after tripping up Jesus


It wasn’t his fault. The goals came across the other side of the pitch but it was still repeated widely in Wednesday morning’s media that he came on at 1-0 and within 10 minutes Real were down 2-1. At his best he remains Real Madrid’s greatest goal threat. He still has what it takes to terrorise opponents but replacing the super-motivated Vinicius, his introduction seemed to wind down Madrid’s threat instead of crank it up. 

Zidane needs to get Bale back on board. The two will never be best pals but for the sake of Real Madrid’s season they have to work together. Karim Benzema’s goal scoring form has dropped of a cliff-edge and Bale needs to step up, but to do that he needs to believe that Zidane believes in him.

Zidane needs to get Gareth Bale back on board if they want to get their season back on track

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