Former Ballon d’Or winner and Real Madrid defender Fabio Cannavaro has backed David Alaba to recover from his poor run of form this season, with the Austrian struggling to replicate the solid performances of seasons past. Cannavaro referenced his own experiences at the Santiago Bernabeu, noting that what Alaba is going through is the norm at Real Madrid.
“There you suffer more than… I like them all because they are fast people, who know how to suffer. And they have injuries, but Madrid as a whole is a great team,” he told Diario AS.
More specifically on Alaba, Cannavaro explained that he too went through a dip. In his eyes, the issue is sometimes that Real Madrid defenders have unfair demands placed upon them by the rest of the team.
“That can happen, you know that I also suffered for several months there, then I had the strength to pick myself up and continue. But this can happen when you arrive at Madrid because it is not easy for a defender. You have to cover a lot of space. If there is not good pressure from the midfielders, if there is not good pressure from the forwards, quick ball recovery can affect the defenders. Many times the defenders are toe-to-toe with the forwards. He has the character to pick himself up again.”
And highlighted the incredible careers of Sergio Ramos as abnormal, rather than the expectation.
“It is not easy to play for Madrid, when you do it two or three years in a row it is a lot. That’s why if we think about Pepe or Ramos, who have won everything and have played [there] for ten years, it is because they are at another level.”
Brazilian defender Eder Militao was ruled out with an anterior cruciate ligament, which was expected to keep him out for the majority of the season, but he is making progress in his recovery that suggests he could be back as early as February. If that is the case, Alaba will have to step up his game, with Antonio Rudiger outperforming him currently.