For the first time in the club’s history, Real Madrid will be without a player donning the Number 9 jersey this season.
Their last number 9, Karim Benzema, left the club early in the transfer window and Los Blancos have not handed any new signing the esteemed kit.
That, however, could have been changed.
According to Mario Cortegana on The Athletic, Romelu Lukaku was offered to Real Madrid before his loan switch to AS Roma in the summer window.
Had the Belgian been signed, he would have been well-placed to take over the kit, given his position on the field.
A sensible option in hindsight
Lukaku has not had it easy since his move from Inter Milan to Chelsea in 2021. The Blues shelled out €115 million for the Belgian striker, but it is safe to say that he did not pay any dividends.
In the 2021-22 Premier League season, Lukaku scored just eight goals for Chelsea in 26 appearances. He soon fell out of favour and has remained an outcast ever since.
Last season, he was loaned out to Inter Milan where he helped the club to the finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Having returned to Chelsea in the summer, the Belgian international was not a part of manager Mauricio Pochettino’s plans and was being offered to clubs across Europe.
And, Real Madrid, too, were among those who were given the chance to sign Lukaku, but the Merengues opted against the move.
The 30-year-old has since signed for AS Roma on a season-long loan. The Serie A side shelled out just €5.8 million for his signing in what could be a bargain move.
Considering that Carlo Ancelotti does not have a bonafide striker apart from Joselu, signing Lukaku on a season-long loan may not have been a poor idea in hindsight. Nevertheless, his decision speaks volumes about his faith in the current squad.
Holding out for Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe’s move to Real Madrid appeared well-placed to see itself through this summer. However, financial misalignments saw the player commit to PSG for the upcoming season.
Signing Mbappe this summer would have cost Real Madrid in excess of €400 million if reports are to be believed.
Los Blancos are thus holding out for next summer when he will be available as a free agent.
Real Madrid’s reluctance to sign a new striker this summer boils down to the Frenchman’s impending arrival. All eyes will be on Paris next summer.
Real Madrid upset with ‘blatant errors’ made by referee during derby defeat vs Atletico
Real Madrid suffered their first defeat of the 2023/24 season last night as local rivals Atletico Madrid beat Carlo Ancelotti’s men 3-1 at the Civitas Metropolitano.
It was a meek display from the Merengues with Atleti doing well to contain them for most of the game.
The defeat, coupled with Barcelona’s win over Celta Vigo, sees the Catalans assume the top spot in La Liga with Real Madrid now slipping down to third.
Real Madrid unhappy with refereeing
As is the case with almost every Madrilenian derby, Sunday night’s clash was not without its controversial moments.
And, MARCA is now reporting that Real Madrid are unhappy and upset with some contentious refereeing decisions made during the match.
Indeed, Los Blancos were not pleased with some of the calls made by the referee and aired their feelings via their Real Madrid TV Broadcast during which they highlighted the said ‘blatant errors’ made by referee Javier Alberola Rojas and the VAR.
Real Madrid point to several errors
For starters, Real Madrid felt aggrieved that Alvaro Morata’s opening goal was allowed to stand despite there being a foul committed on Jude Bellingham in the lead-up to the goal, with there being no VAR check either.
On top of that, the Merengues believe that Jose Maria Gimenez should have been shown a red card by the referee for a last-man challenge on Rodrygo, but the Atletico Madrid ace was only shown a yellow card, with VAR not intervening again.
Real Madrid also believe that they should have been awarded a penalty for a potential handball by Mario Hermoso from a cross by Nacho in the 66th minute.
Beyond that, Los Blancos also felt aggrieved about Eduardo Camavinga’s goal not being allowed due to offside despite Antonio Rudiger not impacting play.
There is no point in crying over spilt milk though and Real Madrid must now turn their focus towards the next game against Las Palmas and returning to winning ways.