"You can not cover the sun with a finger," Keylor Navas said before leaving Moscow early Wednesday.
The goalkeeper of Madrid had just fallen defeated before the youngest CSKA of the decade (1-0) and was not in the mood to continue making the paripé. When asked how much the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo in the current squad weighed the debate with a sentence. He was not alone. Against the petrified optimism of the coach, Julen Lopetegui, the team leaders supported him. Modric said the lack of goal was "worrying" and Kroos insisted twice that they had a "problem" given the inability to convert the chances.
Madrid's worst scoring start in almost 12 years is a statistical novelty that does not come as a surprise to almost anyone in the club. The tremor of the next tsunami made the offices of the Bernabéu vibrate since July. In contrast to the hubbub with which the communication department supplied content to the media, disseminating the signing of Vinicius as if it really represented a decisive reinforcement when the technicians knew with certainty that it would not be so, the discourse between the employees and senior executives of the club I was loaded with pessimism since the preseason.
If there is something that Real Madrid does not lack at present, they are the structures of professionals who are experts in gathering information and making predictions with a unique ability to play in world football. Following the reports in circulation, a leader sighed as the team completed the tour of the United States: "These are the same players that in the last season have shown signs of being tired of their role in the team; irregular in long distances and without change of mental rhythm. Why is it going to be different in the coming season? "
The analysts who advise the president, Florentino Pérez, were conclusive. They pointed out that with the current squad, in the 2017-18 season Madrid were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Leganés, lost the League in November, and lived in the Champions League with water in their necks. The game was always declining. If the team prospered until the end of Kiev was due to a series of accidents that worked in their favor against PSG, Juve and Bayern, when the actions of Cristiano within the area were not enough.
The situation was so obviously critical that one of the directors' advisors divided the squad into two parts: the one formed by the crepuscular players and the one that made up the irregular players. On the eve of the semi-final crossing against Bayern, in mid-April, the club drew up a plan for a deep renovation in which it was proposed to put up to 10 players on the market with a price that they would set at the top of the appraisal range. . Cristiano, Bale, Benzema, Modric, Isco and Lucas Vázquez entered the list of the traspables, according to sources at the Bernabéu. In the list of non-transferable Asensio, Varane, Marcelo, Ramos, Carvajal, Casemiro and Kroos remained.
The conquest of the 13th Championships in Kiev on May 26 ended up canceling the purchase and sales operation, more for reasons of social policy than purely sporting logic. Against the opinion of José Ángel Sánchez, the CEO, Florentino Pérez opted to be conservative rather than sharp. Suddenly, the president began to make positive evaluations alone. Two people who attended the decision-making in those days noted that the reverse was completed without consulting Zinedine Zidane after the final in Kiev. This action convinced the technician to resign the position on May 31, sure that the resources available to him would be insufficient or inadequate.
The subsequent departure of Cristiano to Juventus did not provoke a reaction in the club. Again alone, the president remained firm in his position to leave things as they were before what could be a growth opportunity for players like Bale, Asensio or Benzema.
When Julen Lopetegui hurried to sign his signature to take over, on June 12, he took charge of a giant who was staggering. The signings of Courtois and Odriozola came to shore up two of the posts that needed less reinforcement. Three months later, the coach appears increasingly paler and tighter. Lopetegui is the first coach of Madrid since Hiddink, in 1998, who loses three of the first 10 games he leads. In Moscow they asked him again and again what was the way out of the crisis. His answers were invariably hollow. "The line to follow is to face each game trying to win," he said.
The man already knows in front of a group of players more or less amortized, between irregular and crepuscular, and, to top it all, without the goals of Cristiano. As most of the directors of the club do since July, he begins to see everything dark.