Facts About Their City
Madrid, the fabulous capitol of Spain, with a population of around 6.6 million people in the metro area, is one of the most notorious places in all of Europe to visit. Its beautiful views, amazing architecture, exquisite food, and historical significance make it a must-visit city on anyone’s wish list. Charly Wilder of The New York Times laid out a portion of Madrid’s charming allure: “One of the best of the recently opened crop of modern tapas bars, Celso y Manolo knows what to update and what to leave alone. This goes for the stylish interior, with its preserved 1950s-era bar and floor tiles, as well as the menu, featuring reworked classics like grilled organic Cantabrian veal ribs with chimichurri (10 euros) or the chuletón de tomate, a luscious layering of avocado, mango, papaya, olive oil and fresh herbs on a half heirloom tomato (10 euros).”[i]
Onward to one of Madrid’s most spectacular pieces of architecture. Without objection, so ordered. The renowned Santiago Bernabeu Stadium—which hosted the 1982 World Cup final match between Italy and West Germany, among many other memorable games—can hold a little over 81,000 people. Outside of multiple renovations and improvements it’s a cherished relic of soccer stadiums, having first opened its doors back in 1947. Within its walls are the ghostlike, shimmering and magical footsteps from that of Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano, the intoxicating cheers that have evaporated into the atmosphere, along with a flurry of discarded cigarettes from days of yore that have since been swept away with time. For any soccer fan or non-soccer-tourist, it’s a must-see venue as it catches history in motion with each and every game.
Where the Team Is Today—Tactics and Strategies
Expect to see a 4-3-3 from the dazzling group of Real Madrid.
Tactics and strategies: Continue the strong passing combinations, release Gareth Bale into open space, and create more shooting opportunities for Marcelo.
Without a doubt, Madrid is one of the highest regarded passing teams in soccer on the planet. It shouldn’t be a problem to keep this trend going, particularly with Luka Modric—a true passing savant—leading the way.
A nice addendum, if one can be made, would be to get Gareth Bale out into open space more often, similar to how Kaka would run at multiple defenders circa 2007. Bale has the wheels to disrupt things for opponents and this should be explored throughout the 2019-20 campaign.
Would it hurt to get more shots on goal from Marcelo? It seems like he’s content with passing in areas around the box or crossing whereas he could shoot for goal. Should he take a few more shots this would spice things up nicely for Madrid and it would keep defenses off-balance. When Marcelo opts to pass or cross the ball too often, the result is that defenses come to expect this. A few more shots from Marcelo might, in fact, result in outright goals or create rebound opportunities for the forwards. More shots from Marcelo would serve to keep defenses honest and respect his ability to strike the ball, which would create more passing opportunities down the road. This isn’t a do or die situation for Madrid’s success, lord knows it has enough already. Though it’s a subtle point to consider.
Following the loss to Ajax in the 2019 Champions League, and the reinstatement of Zidane as coach, a lot of big changes might be underway. What sort of changes? Fresher legs, and new energy. As for going forward, Madrid will surely make big trades to produce a new look.
[i] Charly Wilder, “36 Hours in Madrid,” The New York Times, published September 21, 2017, accessed February 27, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/21/travel/what-to-do-36-hours-in-madrid-spain.html