Just how hard has it been to beat Real Madrid? Its unbeaten streak in all competitions ended at 40 games on Sunday when it lost, 2-1, at Sevilla but it took an own goal by Sergio Ramos
85th minute and a stoppage-time goal by Stevan Jovetic
to end the streak that extended back nine months to April 2016 when it lost to Wolfsburg in the UEFA Champions League.
the streak, Real Madrid won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. It won 30 games and tied 10 others, outscoring its opponents 115-39.
Only Dinamo Zagreb (45
games), Juventus (43) and AC Milan (42) have had longer unbeaten streaks in all competitions among European clubs.
For Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane
, the loss was just
his third in 56 games since taking over as coach a year ago and he doesn't think it will hurt the team.
"It won't affect anything," Zidane told his club's website. "We knew that the run
would come to an end at some point. I'm very proud of my players and the 40-game unbeaten run."
Zidane introduced a new three-man backline for the game -- with Raphael Varane
and Sergio Ramos -- and employed five in midfield with Marcelo
and Daniel Carvajal
flanking the trio of Casemiro
, Luka Modric
and Toni Kroos
Real Madrid had played to a 3-3 tie with Sevilla at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan only three days earlier, and Zidane came in for criticism for staying with the defensive posture for too long
on Sunday though Madrid was five minutes away from getting out of Sevilla with a win.
"We need to channel this defeat because nobody likes to lose, especially in this manner," added
Zidane. "But that is football and now we've got to rest up."
The good news is, Real Madrid is first in La Liga, a point ahead of Sevilla and Barcelona by two with a game in hand, and
still alive in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League. The bad news is, it's competing on all three fronts.
Real Madrid has a long January ahead of it with four games in 11 days,
beginning with the first leg of its Copa del Rey series with Celta on Thursday. It will play 14 games in January and February with midweek games in all but one week. Real Madrid's all-out attacking
style might be what fans want, but it is unrealistic game in and game out, given the schedule.
If anything, Zidane's new tactics will give him another option to help get Real Madrid
through games during its brutal schedule.