A year ago, the Real Madrid training Zidane reached the eighth of the Champions with fear in the bones. The rival was the PSG of Neymar and Mbappé, while the white set could not take off. I was out of the Copa del Rey and the League was not a goal. However, when he had to face, surprised almost everyone. February was the starting point towards the milestone of the third consecutive Champions.
There are quite similarities with the team this season. His road to February has been more stony, with the change of coach included and the feeling that the squad had reached a point of no return. February has changed everything and Madrid looks better. This Wednesday begins the knockout round of the Champions and if when the draw was held, in the month of December last year Ajax seemed a very dangerous opponent …
Right now, the favoritism of Real Madrid in this tie is not disputed. "The tie is going to be difficult, as in all these instances of the Champions League and Real Madrid must be up to its history to advance against a team that already proved to be competitive last year and which remains so this year," explained Solari in a UEFA interview. The December team has nothing to do with the one that just won Atlético in their field after tying at the fief of Barcelona. Compete in the worst scenarios and know how to adapt the meeting that arises. If you have to play and press against Barcelona, it is done; and if afterwards, in the field of Atletico, you have to fight and stick with the rojiblancos, the players of Solari also get into it. Madrid has found the game and perseverance that was sought from the beginning.
Much of the responsibility lies with Pintus. When he took the team together with Solari, he did it with a mission: that February would be good in the physical aspect. All the analyzes that were done within the club led to the same conclusion. The players were very far from their best form and thus it was impossible to compete against any rival. You had to do a specific physical preparation and be very clear about the objectives. Pintus, who brought Zidane and had a very important role in the previous Champions, he put to it. It was not easy because with the season already started, there is hardly time to prepare anything. There are games every two or three days and the best we can hope for is that recovery and rest are as effective as possible. But Pintus has done magic.
Sergio Ramos said after the match against Atlético that the crashes last ninety minutes and you have to be prepared for everything. Before, to Madrid, the matches did not last as long. Modric was falling apart right away and Varane looked like he was tired before he started. Now, the French, along with Ramos, makes the team press near the rival area. The defense risks playing very high to force the opponent's mistake. Atletico lived with the outsiders, always at the limit and being solved by the VAR. That's because Solari's team relies on their strength and physique to withstand the entire encounter with this tactic.
For the Cup you have to wait a couple of weeks and in the League you have to have perseverance and patience. What touches is the Champions, the preferred tournament of Madrid, where the last years has made clear his dominion. Solari was asked if he sees feasible to win this year as well. "Nothing is impossible for Real Madrid."