Over the past few week or so, it has almost appeared as if Real Madrid had already thrown in the towel when it came to the La Liga title race.
Having allowed Barcelona to establish a substantial lead, the reigning Spanish champions put in subpar performances against the likes of Girona and Real Sociedad while they had also succumbed to a disappointing defeat against Villarreal last month.
Now, according to journalist Tomas Gonzalez-Martin, there has been no drop in physical/fitness levels in the Real Madrid squad and the recent losses in La Liga are being attributed to the team’s lack of focus in the competition.
Indeed, as per the report, it is claimed that the Merengues seem to have taken their eyes off the ball and become disconnected in La Liga, instead putting their focus on the upcoming Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League matches. There is also a sense that the players held themselves back in order to avoid injuries for the upcoming games.
This has seemingly not gone down too well with manager Carlo Ancelotti as the performance and the attitude of his players have left the door open for criticism ahead of the most important fixtures of the season against Osasuna and Manchester City.
Some club officials are also said to have been angered by how the team performed against Girona and Real Sociedad. And even though winning the cup and the Champions League would resolve everything, the losses are believed to have damaged Ancelotti’s image to an extent.
Within the offices, there is some anger directed towards the Italian tactician as well, with his management being questioned at this juncture of the season, giving way to speculation over his continuity at the club beyond this season.
There is a feeling that Ancelotti did not do enough to motivate the players for the league games. Furthermore, some believe that he should have turned to players who are not starters and Castilla youngsters for these matches.
The manager has reportedly reproached the players for their ‘disconnection and lack of attitude’ at times. He is hurt by these defeats as it leaves him with an image of not having known to handle his squad well enough.
As such, the players are understood to be aware that their displays in the recent league matches have not been good enough and that they have let down their manager. And they are now prepared to give it their all in the three ‘finals’ that Real Madrid play in the next two weeks.
Real Madrid play Osasuna on May 6 in the Copa del Rey final before taking on Manchester City three days later in the first leg of the UCL semis at the Bernabeu. A week later, they travel to the Etihad for the second leg.
Inter Milan star claims he is the best playmaker in the world, ahead of Real Madrid superstar
Hakan Calhanoglu raised many eyebrows in the summer of 2021 when he left AC Milan to join arch-rivals Inter Milan on a free transfer.
It was a move that surprised many, but more than two and a half years later, Calhanoglu’s acquisition has turned out to be a masterstroke from Inter Milan’s end.
During his time at Inter, the former HSV starlet has featured in 125 competitive matches, racking up 23 goals and 24 assists. He has eclipsed his AC Milan numbers, which is quite a feat to achieve.
Calhanoglu hails himself as the best playmaker
Hakan Calhanoglu’s performances have been particularly impressive in the ongoing campaign. The midfielder has been involved in 14 goals this term, including 11 goals.
In light of his performances, Calhanoglu has raised eyebrows by hailing himself as the best playmaker in the world, in a recent interview.
“I’m the best playmaker right now,” Calhanoglu said, shortly after Inter Milan’s narrow 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid.
Calhanoglu ranks Toni Kroos as the ‘next best’ after him and Rodri
The Turkish international went on to name a few more players who he thinks are the best playmakers after him.
Calhanoglu notably mentioned Real Madrid superstar Toni Kroos, stating (h/t DAZN), “After me Rodri, then Toni Kroos, Kimmich and Enzo Fernández.”
The Turk’s decision to add Kroos to his list is highly surprising as the German maestro has been quite important to the Real Madrid team this season.
Even at the of 34, Kroos has remained an integral part of the Real Madrid midfield. His experience and leadership have been crucial in guiding an otherwise young midfield unit.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for another veteran Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric.
The Croat is reportedly unhappy with his current role in the first team and is likely to leave Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.