Madrid rakes the market in search of power stations. The conviction that it is necessary to reinforce the rearguard with a marker of first international level takes root among the leaders as the days of a League that exposes the vulnerability of the team before any rival advance. Madrid did not fit so many goals since the 2008-09 season. On the eve of traveling to Benito Villamarín (20.45, Movistar + Partidazo) in the dressing room they do not forget the slab that oppresses them in another's field, where they have been beaten 18 times. Only the last of the table, the Huesca, punished with 23 goals against, has suffered worse beating in their outputs.
"Pepe killed the monster, and now the monster has returned, "confesses an official of the club that recalls the anxiety experienced by Florentino Pérez's board from 2004, when it became evident the urgent need to rebuild the coverage provided by Hierro, Helguera and Makelele in the squad that won the Champions in 2002. From the presidential entourage to the technicians of Valdebebas, all agree that the defensive stability of the team was only restored after the signing of Pepe, in 2007.
Winner of two Champions and central plus scorer in the history of the competition with 15 goals, Iván Helguera suffered the decline of a historic Madrid live due to lack of defensive solidity. "When you have a guy like Cristiano who gets you 60 goals, unconsciously you neglect the defense", he explains about the situation of fragility that he perceives in the current Madrid. "The concentration is not the same. It has happened with Barcelona. It happened to me with the galactic. We won games in which 80% of our team concentrated on the offensive aspect. The defensive was not a priority. What happened? That stopped working. In football you always have to have a balance. "
The "monster" defines a cyclical problem in all the big teams. The scouts who work for the main clubs warn that it takes much more knowledge to detect a defensive talent than a talent in the attack game. The The height of the difficulty isto discover a center capable of solving the extreme challenges posed by teams such as Madrid, where the origin of the imbalances that manifest themselves in the rear are due to structural circumstances. The technical committee shuffles a list whose most illustrious name is Marquinhos (24 years old), the most reliable of the defenders of Brazil, with a contract in the PSG until 2022, and who has already been in contact with Madrid through agents who they study the viability of the transfer.
The stability provided by Pepe and Ramos -reconverted to central in 2009- began to unravel coinciding with the departure of Pepe in 2017, after the club denied the two years of renewal claimed. "We will miss Pepe's hierarchy," warned a technician at the time. The symptoms did not wait. In the eliminatory Champions last year the red lights went on.
If the 1-3 against Juve at the Bernabéu revealed the gap, the semifinals against Bayern gave way to a hole. Bayern was eliminated despite exhibiting its attack volume. The German team made three goals with 32 shots (17 at goal) and accentuated the nostalgia for Pepe. Almost always successful in his elections, the Portuguese had plugged Ramos for years. Now it is Ramos who must pull Varane, a physical portent with concentration gaps and some conceptual deficit.
"I do not think it's a matter of looking for a central midfielder or a striker," says Helguera. "Where are the future Modric or Kroos? There are not many great midfielders, nor many nines that guarantee you goals. I have faced Trezeguet, a Ibrahimovic, to Henry, to Kluivert, to Ronaldo to Van Nistelrooy, Elber ... Now there are not so many of level. With the centrals it happens the same only that it is more difficult because you need two. It is very difficult to supply Ramos and Varane fairly well. "
"Varane and Ramos are among the best duos in the world," concludes Helguera. "What happens is that Varane has won the Champions and a World Cup and it is difficult to motivate him. The mental fatigue that it has to have supposes that it is normal that it loses the concentration that you need in this Madrid. Above Casemiro was injured! "
Casemiro has returned little by little but Kroos has broken up, and Marcelo and Modric are not going through their prime. For months that the Madrid lost the continuity in the good game. The storm reveals the inability of the centrals to cover all the waterways. The monster he's back.