Real Madrid’s year-round work ended here. At the gates of March, with the first crossing of Champions and Barça’s visit to the Bernabéu. Until the recovery of Eden Hazard had been channeled with care for this date. The important thing was to get well here. But all the certainties offered by the white team a month ago have been fading until Saturday’s defeat in Valencia: he lost the game, the leadership and Hazard , who suffers a fissure in the right distal fibula. The new injury of the Belgian will force Zidane to touch up the board in the most important week of the course.

The problem is not new, as Real Madrid came from living three months without the Belgian star, but the importance of the two games and the magnitude of the rivals forces to sharpen the shot. The season is going on this week.

In the last important appointments, Zidane has resorted to the system with five midfielders. Out of necessity in the Arab Super Cup, where in addition to the Belgian, Benzema and Bale were missing , and by election in the last League derby, from which nothing satisfied came out. So little that at rest he removed Isco and Kroos . “The responsibility of the first part has been mine,” said the coach, who saw his team grow with Vinicius and Lucas Vázquez in a more frequent 4-3-3. The five media give you control, but without auctioneers that domain becomes sterile.

But against teams as offensive as Barcelona and Manchester City, Zidane is unlikely to uncover with a 4-3-3. Less after the stumbling blocks against Real Sociedad in Copa and Celta in Liga -although in both with Marcelo instead of Mendy-. There he loses Vinicius options. The Brazilian had good minutes against Levante, but the lack of goal does not allow to justify him as Benzema’s only companion .

THE MEMORY OF THE LAST CLASSIC

The most accurate track may be the Camp Nou classic, where Zidane opted for a drawing with four midfielders and Bale accompanying Benzema upstairs. The irruption of Valverde has sewn the transition between defense and attack of Real Madrid, a deployment that Modric can no longer do on a daily basis, and allowed Real Madrid to raise the pressure line to disturb the creation of Barça. The whites were superior in that game, but they condemned them what so many other nights, smell.

And that is the problem he will face again without Hazard. By capacity, the safest bet is Bale, although the Welshman has only played two of the last seven games and seems increasingly disconnected from the team. Saving the Cup goal against Unionists, the last time he celebrated in white was on September 1 against Villarreal. Almost five months.

Hazard was the key to unlocking many problems of Real Madrid in attack. Not only because of his goal scoring face, but because of overflow, last pass, ability to attract defenders and combine. From that left profile, a partnership with Kroos and Benzema appeared, which will have to wait at least another couple of months to establish itself. In the squad they have players who offer those solutions but not one that gives them all.

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