Real Madrid fail to learn from previous let-downs


Blancos let Levante get late equaliser to draw the game 2-2, leaving many doubts after a poor showing

Real Madrid somehow just do not learn. And it’s not like they haven’t had their chances… It is not normal that a reigning champion should be incapable of closing out games and that they are hanging on the referee’s final whistle. The Blancos drew with Levante, and almost lost right at the end.

It was a foreseen that Real Madrid’s LaLiga campaign this year was going to become a torment for them because it was obvious that their interest in it was going to be less than usual. They gave up any hopes they might have had on retaining their league crown a long time ago, and the only straw they are still clutching on to is the Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain, which is looming on the horizon.

With this hanging over their heads, they cannot go into any game calmly, because they look like a side that are capable of cornering their opponents, or just bunking off to the pub for a pint or two. They do not learn from the upsets they have, and are now racking up a tally of uncomfortable afternoons spent playing against lesser opponents with little to show for their efforts. It is not really smart to pummel Levante for twenty minutes if the whole team then just disappears for no apparent reason afterwards.

What was on show in Valencia is nothing new. After Sergio Ramos’ 11th-minute goal Madrid then went into inertia mode, the mindset that makes beating any opponents difficult. They took their foot off the pedal, in a way that is difficult to explain, and handed Levante the chance to take a step forward. No sooner said than done. The hosts got a whiff of Madrid’s lackadaisical attitude, and when the visitors made another of their numerous defensive errors close on half time, Boateng levelled.

Then, as seems to be the case always, Madrid had to lift themselves up again, both in terms of their spirit and their football. Madrid’s second half was something of a merry-go-round. The ‘team of the BBC’ split in two, shamefully, and Levante had two chances that they really ought not to have had but did owing to the defensive chaos Zidane’s side were showing. As the minutes went by, the Madrid coach realised it was going to be impossible to win the way they were playing, and changed the team around. He took off Bale and sent on Isco in order to play with four midfielders. He changed the pace of the game and it was Isco himself who put Madrid ahead again with a late strike.

The game, though, had not finished, and Madrid were still leaving gaps all over the place. Roger Marti let them off, but in another defensive slip-up, Pazzini found his way in to strike into the Madrid net and level the scores.