Real Madrid took care of business last time out with a dazzling second-half display after an underwhelming first half that saw Karim Benzema walk off the pitch after feeling some discomfort in his thigh. Los Blancos beat Real Sociedad 0-2 in the end, thanks to a newfound partnership between Luka Jovic and Vinicius Junior and a solid defensive display from Eder Militao. Los Blancos sit comfortably at the summit of the standings eight points clear of second-placed Sevilla who have played a game less.
However, the Karim Benzema injury came at the worst possible moment as Los Blancos are in between their busiest stretch of the first half of the season. They did manage to get the wins against Sevilla and Athletic Club and very recently against La Real.
As my colleague Kevin argued, Real’s biggest problem within these vital fixtures will not be how expert their oppositions are but rather it would be their own fatigue and ability to stay fit that they’d be battling against. We knew Benzema will need some rest but alas, the coach couldn’t come to drop him before such an important match. Now for the remaining crucial fixtures, we’ll need our alternate attackers to step up. Here are my picks for the players who must take up this opportunity and react.
5. Eden Hazard
Let’s start the discussion with an unlikely option that is available to the Italian coach, Carlo Ancelotti. I previously ranked the RW options for Real Madrid and because of the coach not favoring the Belgian, I had to rank him as low as number 5 on that list. However, things might change now.
In my opinion, playing Vinicius and Hazard on the wings with Rodrygo playing centrally in attack could be one of the Benzema-less combinations to try moving forward. Though Benzema’s injury doesn’t look too serious and the coach is ambitious about him returning for El Derbi, there surely are a lot of advantages to keeping things figured for another such instance when Benz may not make it to the starting XI.
Eden Hazard can be given his opportunity now. He is capable we saw that in the opening games. He has gone way too silent since as a player of superstar standards. He needs to step up and convince the coach to play him. And, if he does get a chance he needs to capitalize on it because as things currently are for Hazard, he seems to be on a way out of the Bernabeu.