When Real Madrid won in Milan against Inter, Zinedine Zidane said something that had more depth than it seemed at the time. “When these players have to, they do,” the coach said. In other words, they decide in which games they give their all. Cadiz, no; Barcelona, yes; Shakhtar, no; Inter, yes; Alaves, no; the 11 post-lockdown games, yes, and they won LaLiga Santander. The 27 matches before that, not so much…

This makes Real Madrid completely indecipherable. It’s easy to guess in which game’s they’ll have their fuse lit, but it’s impossible to discern in which games they won’t, or how much time Isco is going to spend pulling up his socks on a lazy afternoon, or when the other players are going to come out with low levels of concentration, as happened on Saturday night.

LaLiga (11): Real Madrid 1-2 Alavés

Not even Zidane was able to offer an explanation, because he didn’t have one. It’s hard to handle this in LaLiga Santander, where you have to work every day, where there are opponents whose armpits smell and where there are coaches who are smart enough to detect a day of loitering at Real Madrid.

Alternating brilliant performances with clunkers isn’t enough to win a title that is up for grabs between September and May. “When these players have to, they do,” as Zidane said. But, 

the problem is they have to do it every day. continue reading

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