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Three talking points from Barcelona 0-4 Real Madrid | Copa del Rey



Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona crumbled at their own fortress to a ruthless Real Madrid performance late on Wednesday evening. The 4-0 result in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg speaks volumes about the game itself, but the scoreline could have well been 7-0 on the night.

The visitors were defensively unshaken, dominant as ever in the middle of the park and sharp in the final third. Everything about Real Madrid’s performance on the night was special, and the manner in which the game unfolded gave it a silver lining.

After the semi-final played in the spirit of a finale last night, the Merengues are pitted against Osasuna in a direct face-off for the title. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Real Madrid vs Barcelona.

1. The comeback kings

There is an uncanny sense of confidence every time Real Madrid walk into a game chasing a lead. The men in white have a strange affinity to playing under pressure, for the manner in which they operate when pushed against the wall is incomparable with their form in routine league games.

It was this very characteristic of Real Madrid which guided them to the UEFA Champions League title last year. The men in white found themselves in challenging circumstances in every round, yet found a way to turn the tables around at every stage.

The theme continued this season in the European competition again at Anfield versus Liverpool. And Yesterday’s game once again reaffirmed Los Blancos’ title as the comeback kings under similar circumstances.

Last month, Carlo Ancelotti’s men fell to Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu in a narrow 1-0 result in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final. Heading to Camp Nou, they needed to fight in front of a Catalan crowd and score at least two goals. Given Barcelona’s defensive record this season, it was far from a simple task.

Yet, the way the Merengues orchestrated the game and played it to their advantage is beyond impressive. In no instant during the game was there tension on the Real Madrid players’ faces. They waited patiently for a chance to pounce on Barcelona while defending deep enough to prevent conceding a second.

When Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema found themselves with a half-chance towards the end of the first half, they took it with both hands. As the pressure built on Barça, they overstretched in attack and left spaces behind for the visitors’ attack to capitalise. The rest is history.

The difference makers (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Ancelotti has shaped the squad mentality into something special and capable of facing even the tallest of adversities. The lack of fear and the sheer composure of the team is truly remarkable.

2. Hat-trick hero

Benzema joined an elite list of Real Madrid players to have scored a hat-trick at Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday night with a heroic show on the world’s biggest stage.

A lot has been said about the Frenchman’s lack of form this season. His goal tally has not been poor by any means but his inability to put away simple chances that he would have otherwise capitalised on was seen as a concern for the men in white.

Since the restart of club football after the international break, Benzema has scored six goals in just two games. His back-to-back hattricks involved spectacular goals and show that he still very much has it in his boots.

Benzema scored his first goal of the night in the 50th minute after Luka Modric squared him the ball outside the Barcelona box. With a clear sight of goal, the Frenchman struck a powerful shot that slid beyond a diving Marc-Andre ter Stegen to make it 2-0.

His second goal came from the penalty spot after Franck Kessie brought Vinicius Jr down in the area. For a striker of his calibre, converting the opportunity was a stroll in the garden.

It was in the 80th minute that Benzema completed his hattrick against Barcelona. Once again on a quick counter, Vini Jr took down the Barcelona defence and laid the ball for his captain. The Ballon d’Or winner made easy work of it, sending it over Ter Stegen and scoring the team’s fourth.

3. Will it finally come home?

The Copa del Rey is a third-wheel competition after La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. Yet, while Real Madrid have done well in Europe and the Spanish League, their record in the Cup is far from impressive.

Los Blancos last won the competition in 2013-14. In the nine years since then, they have faced shocking eliminations or gone down fighting prematurely for a plethora of reasons.

Real Madrid have only won the competition 19 times in their history. Considering that Barcelona have done so 31 times, there is an imminent need to start making amends on that front.

Ancelotti’s men are now firm favourites to lift the trophy this year and put an end to the recent drought. They face Osasuna in the final next month in a tie that is tricky, but very conquerable.

Will this finally be the year that Los Blancos bring the Copa del Rey home? Was yesterday’s clash the one that decided Carlo Ancelotti’s continuity at Real Madrid? Only time will tell.

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Five players who will be fixed starters for Real Madrid next season



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Following a successful campaign, Real Madrid are poised for significant changes in their roster due to a combination of player arrivals and departures.

The responsibility of blending new faces with established stars will fall to coach Carlo Ancelotti and his staff as they aim to maintain the club’s competitive edge domestically and in Europe.

And to predict the team’s probable strategy and performance amidst these changes, it is imperative to identify the key players who will be constant starters.

Kylian Mbappe

The new talisman. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With Real Madrid no longer viewing Mbappe through rose-tinted lenses and finally being able to dress him in the royal white jersey, the Frenchman is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Owing to his instinctive nature to find the back of the net, he is poised to be paired alongside Vinicius Jr. in attack.

Last season, the 2018 World Cup winner scored a whopping 44 goals in all competitions. Thus Real Madrid will be banking heavily on Mbappe’s ability to ask questions of opposition defenders in the final third.

It is being said that Mbappe is all set to wear the iconic number 9 jersey at Real Madrid, which is indicative of the role he will play, as a focal striker.

Vinicius Jr.

The main man at Real Madrid. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Brazilian is in pole position to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and looking back on his season with Real Madrid, it is easy to see why.

Despite losing Karim Benzema, his usual partner in crime over the past few years, Vinicius performed remarkably well in Ancelotti’s new system.

Relentlessly taking on defenders, arriving into space, scoring goals, and stepping up in the biggest of moments, he was one of Real Madrid’s major lynchpins throughout the season as they lifted a historic double.

Vinicius impressively racked up 24 goals last season, and given his importance to the team, the likelihood of him not maintaining a starting role next season is nearly nonexistent.

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid Fans’ Player of the Season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Defying all expectations in his debut season, Jude Bellingham established himself as a key player for Real Madrid, demonstrating exceptional versatility, and maturity far beyond his years.

Although the Englishman’s performances wavered in the final stretch of the season, Bellingham’s contributions ensured Los Blancos were able to compete in the Champions League and especially La Liga.

In addition to scoring 23 goals in all competitions, he has constantly been a beacon of reliability in midfield and has proven to be the voice of reason on the pitch.

There have been murmurs about Bellingham potentially being berthed deeper next season as Real Madrid intends to use him as Kroos’ replacement. However, given his versatility, he is expected to be a crucial player wherever he plays.

Antonio Rudiger

A mainstay at the back. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rudiger is one of the major reasons Real Madrid managed to successfully disguise their injury crisis. Despite players falling like dominos in the back-line, the German stood resolutely as a dependable figure for most of the campaign, arguably enjoying one of his best seasons.

Expertly anticipating opposition strikers’ movements, he leaps forward to thwart attacks before they begin. Moreover, thanks to his large stature and incredible recovery pace, he is able to cover distances behind.

Reports have mentioned that Carlo Ancelotti views him as a crucial component of the squad and potential arrivals, such as those of Leny Yoro and Rafa Marin, in the back-line are unlikely to devalue his presence.

Thibaut Courtois

Back like he was never gone. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In spite of spending more than half of the campaign on the sidelines recovering from an ACL and MCL injury, Courtois is worth his weight in gold for Real Madrid.

He performed admirably in the final few games of the season and did no wrong against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final.

While Andriy Lunin made up for his absence with flying colours, he is placed below Courtois in the pecking order for now, which also has made the Ukrainian lean towards an exit.

The fact that Lunin, after his sublime season, stands no chance of dethroning Courtois between the sticks is a testament to how much the club appreciates the Belgian. Even at the age of 32, the Belgian keeper is anticipated to retain an important role in the team.

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