As injuries begin to bite, the Blancos boss has plenty to chew on...
Poor Rafa Benítez. The Real Madrid manager has now become the Cartman of European football. But instead of managers, pundits and players calling the Spaniard a fat ass, the slur being thrown in his direction is “defensive”.
Laurent 'Kyle' Blanc was the latest perpetrator of this crime which elicited the usual response from an increasingly irritated Benítez that his team “attacks and the stats prove this” – football talk for big-boned, or seasonly plump perhaps.
“You will respect my authority,” yelled an annoyed Rafa.
Well, Madrid are going to have to do their endless stream of attacking without Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and James Rodríguez, as the team are going through a bit of an injury rut at the moment.
Ramos and Modric injured
La Liga Loca loathes to use the word “crisis” when Isco, Mateo Kovacic and Jesé are the replacement options, but for Benítez it is a bit of a problem, what with Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric also doubts for Wednesday’s PSG clash.
Real Madrid being Real Madrid means that there may be more to the story in regards to injuries: Monday’s Marca was reporting a case of Doctor No around the club’s leading medical man, Jesús Olmo. Players have reportedly voted to ban him from the dressing room.
Real Madrid being Real Madrid means that there may be more to the story in regards to injuries
Olmo stands accused of being an insider spy for Florentino Pérez, playing a role in the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti, the removal of two popular physios and blaming all manner of injuries on a lack of stretching.
In terms of more boring news for LLL, the team are playing PSG on Wednesday night and trying to avoid a defeat in the group stages of the Champions League for the first time in three years. Meanwhile, the French side will be hoping to take advantage of weakened opposition, something that the team are more than capable of doing in the ultra-competitive Ligue 1 each week.
Eighteen Spanish sides appear to be involved in the Champions League this season, but LLL is going to focus on just two of the them. Sevilla are in England to take on Manchester City – Jesús Navas might well pick up old habits and sneak himself onto the Andalusian side’s team bus as Sevilla go home – whilst Atlético Madrid are set to give Jackson Martínez another go at scoring some goals with Astana in town.
Tuesday night’s games was fairly uneventful in LLL’s terms with a very solid Barcelona picking up a 2-0 win at BATE, after Ivan Rakitic came off the bench in the first half to score a brace. Valencia didn't play particularly well in Mestalla against Gent, and relied on two own goals for the win.
In La Liga’s other business, the first sacking of the season took place on Monday, with Las Palmas disposing of Paco Herrera after a limp 4-0 defeat at Getafe was seen as a bridge too far for the Canary Islanders. But rather than being a case of the owner’s expectations being unrealistic, it appears to be a 'lost the dressing room' scenario after a performance without any bite and a training room scrap last week. Former Lugo boss, Quique Setién, takes over to host Villarreal first up.