Real Madrid secured a victory over Cadiz on Thursday night, which allows them to breathe. After Barcelona’s win on Tuesday, it was incumbent on Los Blancos to end a tricky run with just a two-point gap at the top of the table.
Following a draw at home to Girona and then their first defeat of the league season against Rayo Vallecano on Monday, manager Carlo Ancelotti was asked if the break for the World Cup came at a good time for his side.
“The break is well-received because there is no alternative.”
“We had a good start to the season, then we arrived at the end a bit tight, but we achieved our targets, we did enough, we got to 35 points.”
“There are many more games than last season, taking into account that we have been missing the Ballon d’Or [Karim Benzema], the forward who scored 50 goals last season, it’s true that we got to the end a little bit tired.”
Given Benzema’s absence has been normalised over the course of the season, Ancelotti makes a valid point about the impact it has surely had on Real Madrid. Equally, they have only dropped 7 points all season.
Ancelotti also criticised the refereeing in Spain, as he was asked about the treatment of his star player Vinicius Junior.
“The other day I saw an important statistic for Spanish football. Of the big leagues it’s had the most red cards. 55 red cards to 10 in the Premier League. There are many red cards that are not reds. It’s a stat that affects the spectacle of Spanish football.”
Last Sunday, the Seville derby saw three red cards, and on Wednesday Sevilla themselves saw two dismissals, something Ancelotti went on to reference. The Italian has a point that the refereeing in Spain, regardless of what people think of individual decisions, is getting in the way of good football matches.