At the end of a season ended in a whirlwind, Real Madrid of Zinedine Zidane managed to clinch its 34th title of champion of Spain Thursday with its pillars Sergio Ramos or Karim Benzema, but also thanks to the revelation Fede Valverde or the confirmation Thibaut Courteous.
Here are the key men of the 34th Spanish Real Madrid champion title this season.
- The magician Zidane -
The magician of Real: after nine sabbaticals and after taking over a drifting team in March 2019, Zinedine Zidane made it a candidate for the title training in the winter.
After a complicated start to the season (7 goals conceded in the first 8 games), and a stinging defeat at the relegation Mallorca (1-0) on October 19, "Zizou" was the target of criticism.
But the Frenchman (48 years old) assumed his responsibilities and let the storm pass: after this match, Real will go on 21 matches without defeat.
"ZZ" will be talked about for his tactical masterpieces, notably with the bets Vinicius, Mariano Diaz and Toni Kroos during the 2-0 victory in the Liga clasico, on March 1, just before the pandemic. In four seasons at Real, Zidane has raised his eleventh trophy (3 Champions League, 2 UEFA Super Cups, 2 Club World Cups, 2 Spanish Super Cups and 2 Spanish Championships) out of 16 possible.
- The artist Benzema -
At the peak of his art. The French center-forward (32), long in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo, now monopolizes all the light in the attacking sector of Real, with another double Thursday night against Villarreal (29th, 76th) to seal the title merengue.
He was the only one to get close to Lionel Messi (23 goals) in the race for the top scorer in Liga with 21 goals ... including some jewels, including his volley against Valencia on June 18, or his assists in a heel pass for the goal de Casemiro, on June 28 against Espanyol (1-0).
With this 3rd title of champion of Spain (2012, 2017, 2020), Benzema begins to enter the pantheon of the best attackers in the history of Real Madrid.
- The boss Ramos -
Unbeatable captain, bearded and tattooed barker "bad boy", defensive anchor and even ... Real's second best scorer this season. With 10 goals in 34 La Liga games, Sergio Ramos has just completed his best accounting year since joining Real Madrid (in 2005).
The Andalusian also became the most prolific defender in Liga with 71 goals in total, ahead of the 67 achievements of Ronald Koeman. He has more than ever shown the way for his teammates by being decisive in crucial moments, and has formed, with the Frenchman Raphaël Varane, the most waterproof defensive hinge of the whole continent.
- The Valverde surprise -
"El Pajarito" ("the little bird" in Spanish), a solid bust on two long legs, only needed a full season to convince. At 21, Fede Valverde was the perfect complement to the aging but excellent Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the middle of the merengue field.
With his "box to box" qualities and his infinite breath, Valverde has already conquered Madrid supporters when he sacrificed in the final of the Spanish Supercup against Atlético Madrid, in January: the Uruguayan has really made a tackle which earned him a red card to avoid a cooked goal, and was elected man of the match in stride for the first title of the year 2020 of Real Madrid.
Recruited in 2016 for EUR 5 million, Valverde was incubated in the reserve team and then on loan to La Coruña, until this 2019-2020 season of revelation, which he finished with 2 goals and 5 assists in 31 La Liga matches.
- The Courtois wall -
It has been 12 years since a Real Madrid goalkeeper had not been named Spain's best goalkeeper. Belgian international Thibaut Courtois achieved a historic season, with only 19 goals conceded in 33 matches, and totaled 18 "clean sheets". Unprecedented figures from the best seasons of Iker Casillas at the White House.
Far ahead of Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid), Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao) and Marc-André ter Stegen (FC Barcelona) in the Zamora ranking of the best goalkeeper in Spain, Courtois had however had a difficult start, with seven goals conceded in the eight first matches this season.
But he then showed that he was still one of the best in the world at his post, and that he had already taken over from Keylor Navas, emblematic goalkeeper of the three consecutive Champions Leagues won by Real de Zidane (2016- 2018).
© 2020 AFP