Casemiro. "The finals are not played, they are won"
If the absence of
has served at all
During these three weeks it is to better understand his importance in the current Real Madrid, which has not only missed his best defense, but also his great captain.
Because if something became clear after two defeats and a draw in the last five days, it is that the team, deprived of its leader, falls apart at the slightest eventuality.
Against Alavés or against Shakthar.
It does not matter.
That is why nothing can be understood without Ramos, whose voice of command will be heard again today on the grass of Valdebebas.
Gladbach will not be just any game, but the one of greatest importance for the club since the 2018 Champions League final. A victory today against the Germans grants a pass to the second round, a draw is only enough if it is mixed with a victory for the Inter and the other combinations lead to the martyrdom of the Europa League or the last place in the group.
Madrid need to beat an undefeated rival today in their last seven away games in the Champions League, where they have not lost since their visit to the Camp Nou in December 2016 (4-0).
A good team, with football based on balls to spaces and dizzying transitions.
That is why
clings to Ramos today with the despair of the castaway.
Their captain, helped by
, must contain
, who already punished them with two goals at the end of October at Borussia Park, and
, author of five goals and three assists in this group stage.
Two forwards with a long stride that do justice to Borussia's nickname: Los Potros.
If anyone can tie them up, it is Ramos, who so many times exhibited his authority before the best in the Champions League.
Since the departure of
, after that triumph against Liverpool in Kiev, the Sevillian has held the weight of a team that does not know what to expect in his absence.
The eliminations in the round of 16 against Ajax and Manchester City were the most striking evidence, but it is not just that.
The analysis cannot be limited to his overwhelming personality, nor to his defensive quality, nor to the eight defeats in the 10 Champions League games in which he was absent.
To better assess its influence, the focus must be broadened.
Power of persuasion
In the first place, because Ramos is a differential in the exit of the ball and conditions each of the attacks.
If before he shared that responsibility with
, today he will have to exercise it alone in the face of the voracious pressure posed by
Second, but even more importantly, because of how contagious his enthusiasm is.
Just 10 days ago, against Alavés, the captain's orders from the Valdebebas rostrum were heard much more clearly than those of Zidane himself.
And that power of persuasion is what a Madrid resigned to its fate has sorely missed every time the scoreboard has turned against it.
Today it no longer seems a coincidence that
, the great one without the company of Ramos, is the player in the Champions League with the most errors that led directly to a goal (three).
Nor do Zidane's words yesterday sound so strange about the triumphs at San Siro and Sánchez-Pizjuán.
“We won, as we did at the Camp Nou, but they weren't our best games either.
Sometimes we have lost by playing better.
The important thing against Borussia is to do things as a team, knowing that if we are together and concede little, then we do things well with the ball.
Although he does not admit it, the coach also knows that today, like 13 months ago against Galatasaray, could be his last time on the bench.
Among other reasons, because this Madrid is very little like the one that was proclaimed league champion thanks to its firmness in the vicinity of
If you want to return to that safety path, you need to recover, not only Ramos, but also the more aggressive version of
, Casemiro and
Only the Uruguayan will not be able to form in today's final against the Germans.
According to the criteria of The Trust Project
ChampionsThe return of Benzema and the resilience of Zidane: "We always overcome difficult moments"
Champions Zidane, on Maradona: "I could tell him that he was the host as a player"
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See links of interest
Zenit St Petersburg - Borussia Dortmund
Lazio - Bruges, live
Barça - Olympiacos Piraeus
RB Leipzig - Manchester United
Barcelona - Juventus, live