When the speaker of Santiago Bernabeu announced the presence of 48,446 spectators at the inaugural game of the season against Getafe, on August 19, we were surprised to see Real Madrid play in front of this low attendance. But we think that most supporters had not returned from vacation at this time, but also the time at which the game was played at (22 hours) disturb those who had to go to work in the day after.
However five months later, the problem persists. Just 44,231 people turned up on the night versus Leganes in Copa del Rey, which is some way short of the next lowest attendance seen this term as the club’s on-field problems continue to leave supporters unimpressed. Is it a good attitude from the supporters of the biggest team in the world? In this piece, we will look at their cause and give an appropriate response.
After a period of offensive scarcity (Five consecutive games without a win, only two goals scored) Julen Lopetegui was relieved of his coaching duties despite the full support of the squad. Santiago Solari was inducted as one who embodies the values of Real, a man who seems to know how to lead (apparently) the locker room as if his predecessor was not able to handle. However, eight players of the squad already have played for Lopetegui with the Spanish national team and Porto (Casemiro).
|Getafe||La Liga||48 446|
|Leganes||La Liga||59 255|
|Roma||UEFA Champions League||69 251|
|Espanyol||La Liga||67 658|
|Atletico Madrid||La Liga||78 642|
|Levante||La Liga||63 423|
|Viktoria Plzen||UEFA Champions League||67 357|
|Valladolid||La Liga||68 050|
|Valencia||La Liga||69 653|
|Melila||Copa del Rey||55 243|
|CSKA||UEFA Champions League||51 636|
|Rayo Vallecano||La Liga||55 229|
|Real Sociedad||La Liga||53 412|
|Leganes||Copa del Rey||44 231|
The biggest crowd was recorded against Atletico Madrid with 78,642 spectators, a derby which sold on a draw despite a great dominance of Casa Blanca. Unlike the Wanda Metropolitano stadium fans are not only noisy but also at the origin of magnificent tifos; those of the Bernabeu are moribund. It is a fact that Carlo Ancelotti, Pepe and José Gimenez reported when they were questioned about the impact of the public during matches at Bernabeu. They are rather classified in booing their stars than encouraging the team, even Ronaldo, the top scorer in the history of the club has not escaped.
For the 71st anniversary of the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano in one of the city’s closest derbies in front of just 55,229 spectators. At the end of the match, there were long whistles, and some players had been booed well before the final whistle (Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos). And to say that these whistles could have been worse if the majority of the fans had not left the stadium a few minutes before the final whistle.
Solari’s tactics compared to Zidane’s has a simple and big difference, he misses Ronaldo the providential scorer. He has started well, sporadically playing the beautiful football that his predecessor played during his reign. Even if he won the FIFA Clubs World Cup and back to the top five, this Real Madrid don’t attract. Only scoring 13 goals in nine games at home.
Unfortunately, when you are at Real this is a priority. At Real and especially with Florentino Perez, you have to win (Zidane knew how to do it), then with the way (Lopetegui played the possession more than 65% on average but they didn’t score a lot). Santiago Solari can bend his chest and say that he has won twelve of his sixteen matches but he is the one who took the biggest home beating of Real in the Champions League, 3-0 against CSKA Moscow, lost on the same scoreline versus Eibar and the last one 2-0 against the Real Sociedad.
Solari’s Real have a big problem establishing total domination over their opponents. With less than 60% possession of the ball, from time to time, we see a Thibaut Courtois forced out some saves (four against Vallecano), or saved by the posts (four so far).
In 29 games, they have already been beaten in the same amount of matches as they were in the entirety of last season, which lasted 62 games. That is equivalent to being beaten in 31 per cent of games this year, in comparison with 14.5 per cent last season. In addition, there have also been seven matches in which Los Merengues have failed to find the net, something that only happened on six occasions last year.
And the stats continue to prove that the 26 goals they have managed in 18 LaLiga Santander games is their lowest amount after that amount of fixtures since their paltry 25 in the 1991/92 season and their six defeats at this point is also the most since 2005/06. It seems like there’s no top coach available anymore.
On this subject, the Madrid newspapers insistently link Jose Mourinho with the club. He would have as his main assistant, a former player who served as a relay on the pitch during his tenure at the head of the team (2010-2013) the excellent deep-lying midfielder Xabi Alonso who is actually passing his coaching license with other big names of the Spanish football Morientes and Raul.
The man who had as nickname El Unico still holds the esteem of the merengue hierarchy because he brought the club back to the European top stage with his three semi-finals in a row in the Champions League, a round that the club had never reached it in eight consecutive seasons. Even if he is the best coach of Real Madrid in terms of percentage of victories (71.9%) ahead of Zinedine Zidane (70%) he was the instigator of the pollution of relations within La Roja. A situation of tension that has disappeared since his departure. However, the turn towards Mourinho seems inappropriate to me, the former coach of Manchester United seems to be overwhelmed by the current football, he has been sacked in December after a defeat in the Derby of England.
Santiago Solari got a three-year contract but we all know that it does not mean anything in these clubs when the results do not come – Lopetegui can confirm that. He has started the year with no victories, a draw at Villareal (2-2) and a defeat against Real Sociedad at home. The fans don’t really trust in a comeback, Barcelona are already 10 points ahead, they expect better in Europe, the Merengues will face Ajax Amsterdam in the Round if 16 in February. After three titles in a row in the best European league, an early elimination will sealed his fate.
In conclusion, the policy of empty chair practiced by fans will have a negative effect in the short term on the team because we know to how their support is crucial. However, in the long run, it’s certain that Florentino Perez will do everything possible to attract Galacticos (and a top coach) that will fill the stadium because he prioritizes more the commercial side than the sporting side. He will not be able to support this shortfall.