Record unbeaten streak over, Real Madrid turns attention to brutal schedule

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 in the 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.

During 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, Nacho 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.
1 comment about "Record unbeaten streak over, Real Madrid turns attention to brutal schedule".
  1. beautiful game, January 17, 2017 at 4:36 p.m.

    It was a matter of time that the streak ended...players are not robots. Zidane is doing a great job with a versatile squad.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications