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There is something shifting at Real Madrid, some sense of vulnerability

Pep Guardiola was right to say if there is any team that can turn the deficit around it is Madrid, but that old belief is starting to look like it may need revising

Sergio Ramos walked off the pitch and, many imagined, straight out of Europe. “If there’s any team, anywhere within the world which will turn this around it’s Real Madrid,” Pep Guardiola said. But because the Real fans departed the Bernabéu, leaving their stadium to the Manchester City supporters singing long time high within the north-east corner, it didn’t desire it.

Without their captain, shown the 26th red card of his career at the top of these final quarter-hour that Zinedine Zidane said had been fatal, turning around this 2-1 home defeat are going to be harder yet.

Maybe it’s becoming a habit, and not only for him. As Ramos walked, that sense of invincibility, his air of untouchability, was stripped away. a number of their veneer went with him, yet this runs deeper. A year ago Ramos sat and watched, suspended, from a glass private box as Madrid were knocked out of the Champions League, taken apart by Ajax. This year he will sit within the stands at the Etihad Stadium. He might not watch Real get knocked out again, it’s true, and Zidane was entitled to insist “we need to go there and win, and that we are capable of that”. But the task before them is bigger than they imagined. judi bola online

Greater even than they imagined because the game headed into those last minutes. Isco’s goal appeared to suggest they were getting to roll in the hay again, finding how through the storm, but Zidane lamented a scarcity of concentration at the top . He talked of errors that ought to not be committed. “It hurts,” he said, “because we didn’t deserve it.” Yet beyond the bad luck and therefore the worse judgment – Dani Carvajal’s unnecessary penalty was particularly self-destructive – that was debatable.

There were complaints about the refereeing, Vinícius agreeing that officials deliberately blow against Real because they’re European royalty. But that doesn’t cut it either and therefore the actual fact that they didn’t find how through where once they might have done suggests that things are different now. Real didn’t always march serenely to 3 European Cups during a row. sometimes they were fortunate, sometimes absurdly so. And yet there was always something there, some intangible, some strength. For opponents, there was a sort of inevitability.

Ramos called the Champions League “magical”; it had some hold over them and that they had some hold over it. Europe was their elixir. Zidane has said before that he sometimes seems like he has some guiding star. He has never not won this competition, remember. Twelve knockout rounds he has been through.