Carlo Ancelotti, 62 years old and with that bearing of a veteran diplomat of the old European chancelleries, appeared on his return to the Spanish League using the heaviest names of the squad. Faced with the eternal question of who would accompany Benzema, the coach in Vitoria attended to the past of his footballers, and ended up choosing Hazard and Bale, protagonists of a long hibernation, each for very different reasons. Initially, there was no gap for the large group of young people, the club’s economic and strategic commitment after Cristiano’s departure. Nor for the promising youth squad Miguel Gutiérrez, a substitute on the left side despite the injuries of Mendy and Marcelo. Waiting for all the twists and turns that the course gives, the Italian shot for the premiere of the best dressing room curricula.
Since 2018, Madrid’s attack returns every three days to the starting box in an infinite circle. The payroll is wide, but the solutions, isolated beyond the French striker, once again a double-scorer. Ancelotti’s decision with Hazard evoked what Zinedine Zidane tried so many times: to reel him as soon as the Belgian minimally fine-tuned his physical set-up.
The memory of his glory days and the few solutions found so far in Valdebebas continue to encourage the tenant of the white bench to place him in the front line at the slightest opportunity in search of a sorpasso on the offensive line of the team that has not yet occurred. “I do not know if it will be with me, but sooner or later it will arrive,” prophetically assured the missing ZZ a few months ago about the Belgian. Ancelotti’s faith seems similar. After a preseason without minutes and a specific work plan, the former Chelsea player appeared from the start in Mendizorroza. It was the first time in his three seasons at Madrid that he was present at the debut. The others caught him in his best known place in Spain, the infirmary.
The bet on Bale, however, is typical of the current merengue coach who, awaiting news in the transfer market, is the only thing new you received above. A year ago his obituary white and now, soccer pirouettes, is shown as the offensive trick of this Madrid that continues without spending a euro for the second consecutive summer.
Hazard’s three chances
The last time the Welshman and the Belgian met in a field was in June 2020, against Mallorca, in the Post-Confinement League. That torrid night in the Di Stéfano desert was the Frenchman’s sentence to Bale, but the impossibility of finding another destination for him with his salary and his recent past have returned him a season or so later to the Bernabéu. “I see him well and motivated,” said the Italian coach this Saturday in the guts of Mendizorroza, with more spirit to get out of trouble than to raise expectations. Bale’s three-and-a-half-year decline prompts caution, but the attacking precariousness of the whites and the player’s productive capacity, albeit in a trickle, encourage him to try. The beginnings of the campaign, with his mind still fresh, have always been a propitious moment for a last attempt with the Welshman, even with the cross placed by Zidane.
The best that can be said of their passage through Vitoria was their will. Hazard, from more to less, started with some verve and spurred Benzema in the 0-1. It was the one that created the most (3) of the two sets, according to Opta statistics. And the Welshman, in that discontinuous game so his (he barely gave eight good passes, one less than Rodrygo in a third of the time), left three shots. “It was difficult to play between the lines because Alavés closed well,” Ancelotti analyzed about the two.
With everything on track, the youngest were parading: Rodrygo, Asensio or Vinicius, who scored a bit later in the lead and to whom the Italian coach sent homework for the future. “I have told him that it is very difficult to find forwards who score after four, five or six touches. You need one or at most two. So, you have to be inside the area to put in. He is very young, he is going to progress ”, concluded the coach in a sentence where it is guessed that, for him, the Brazilian has not yet graduated despite the 119 games he has accumulated as a Real Madrid player. Not so Hazard and Bale, whose problem is not learning, but performance. In Vitoria, what weighed the most was the past.
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