Real Madrid | The challenges of the champion

Benzema y Marcelo, con el trofeo de campeones de Liga sobre el césped del Bernabéu.

With the League in hand, Madrid has several incentives in the four days that remain to finish the championship. Individually, Benzema caresses the Pichichi, Courtois is still fighting for Zamora and players with fewer minutes may have their chance and the white team. And collectively, the Whites can finish the League without seeing any red cards, season the conquest of the title with the biggest advantage over the second in the history of the championship and conclude the tournament having defeated 18 of their 19 rivals.

Benzema, the top scorer and his records

In his case he is not yet a mathematician, but the Pichichi, like the Real Madrid League, also has Benzema’s name already registered. Only a tremendous end to the season by one of his pursuers can snatch the French striker’s top scorer award. The 9 white has 26 goals, eleven more than the next two in the standings: Enes Ünal (Getafe) and De Tomás (Espanyol), who have scored 15 goals each. It will be the first Pichichi since he arrived in Spain for Karim, who was already top scorer in the French League in the 2007-2008 season. That season, at the age of 20, he scored 20 goals. The Golden Boot is more difficult, because Lewandowski gets eight goals from him (The Pole has 34 with Bayern) and ahead of Benzema is also Immobile (27 goals with Lazio).

Photo by Benzema

Benzema has two other incentives. Becoming the second top scorer in the history of Real Madrid in all competitions (with his goal against Espanyol he has 321, two short of equaling Raúl) and reach César as the seventh top scorer in the history of the League (Karim has 218, the same as Quini, due to the 221 scored by the striker from León who spent most of his career at Barcelona in the 1940s and the first half of the 50s of the last century).

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The Zamora of Courtois

The Belgian goalkeeper has it harder than his partner to win the other individual prize of the championship. Courtois has conceded 29 goals in 34 games, an average of 0.85 goals conceded per game. Sevilla player Bono, with 22 goals conceded in 28 games, averages 0.79. Depending on the games that they play between now and the end of the League, the Seville team’s goalkeeper has up to two goals to finish as the goalkeeper with the fewest goals. But there are also two other goalkeepers who are fighting for the award: Rullifrom Villarreal (24 goals in 28 games, 0.86 average) and Alex Remiro, from Real Sociedad (26 goals in 30 games, 0.87 average). If he finally achieves it, it would be the fourth Zamora trophy for Courtois, the second as a madridista.

Photo by Courtois

Finish the League without expulsions

A clean and white League that does not tarnish. Madrid is champion and aspires to be also in fair play. Ancelotti’s men have not yet suffered an expulsion so far in the League. The only two reds that the Whites have seen this season were Militao’s in the Super Cup final and Marcelo’s in the Cup round of 16 against Elche. Madrid hasn’t finished a League without being expelled since the 1983-1984 season. In the RFEF fair play classification, Ancelotti’s men are tied with Villarreal on 76 points. The groguets have two yellow and one red more than the whites, but at Villarreal only three players have completed the warning cycle, while at Madrid there are five (Casemiro, twice).

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Gil Manzano expels Casemiro in the 2020-21 Clásico.

Gil Manzano expelled Casemiro for a double warning in the Clasico against Barcelona on matchday 30 of last season, on April 10, 2021. It is the last red card a Real Madrid player has seen in the League,

Give minutes to those who do not play

Ancelotti has so far relied on a small group of players. Only 12 footballers have played half of the possible minutes in the championship and only four more have played a third (no one else has played even 25%). The four days that remain are an opportunity for players who have had a leading role in recent games (Ceballos, Marcelo…) and others who have hardly counted… Also for some youth squads (Gila played the last quarter of an hour of the final match against Espanyol), although the fact that Raúl’s Castilla is playing in the RFEF First Division, their chances of playing the playoff for promotion to the Second Division may reduce their options.

Revalue those who can leave

These four days are a showcase for the players who will not continue or whose future is in doubt. Marcelo, Isco and Bale end their contract. The winger and the player from Malaga have the opportunity to demonstrate their level to attract potential suitors. The Welshman, if his injuries allow him, also needs to show himself to find a bridge club where he can play until the World Cup if in June he manages to qualify with his team. The last games can be a catwalk for other players who may leave, transferred or loaned, this summer: Jovic, Mariano, Vallejo, Hazard if he finishes recovering from his operation…

Shield/Flag Real Madrid

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The advantage over the second

The biggest advantage that Real Madrid got as champion over the second was 12 points. Whites got it three times: in 1960-61 (52 to 40) and in 1962-63 against Atlético (49 to 37) and in 1974-75 against Real Zaragoza (50 to 38). Although at that time it had more merit: victories were only awarded with two points and they were championships with 16 teams in the case of the first two and 18 in the second, which meant playing eight and four fewer games respectively. Madrid also got 11 points from Real Sociedad in the 1987-88 (20-team League) in the third of the La Quinta del Buitre leagues.

The Whites’ greatest advantage in a League of three points for a win is the nine (100 to 91) that Mourinho’s champion Madrid took from Barcelona in 2011-12. The biggest advantage in the history of the championship is the 15 (100 to 85) that Barça took from Madrid the following season. Only maintaining the current advantage, Ancelotti’s men would match that record. They are ready to get over it.

beat almost everyone

With their draw on matchday 24, Villarreal prevented the champions from aspiring to a strike that Madrid hasn’t achieved since the 2011-12 season: winning at least once against all rivals in the league. At least, he has the ‘consolation’ of finish the League by beating 18 of the other 19 contenders. In this second round they have already beaten three of the six teams that resisted them in the first: Getafe, Osasuna and Espanyol. He still has to face two others: Levante (matchday 36 at the Bernabéu) and Cádiz (matchday 37 at the Nuevo Mirandilla).


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