Jovic succeeds in being Benzema for night as Madrid leave rivals behind | La Liga

NSAreem Benzema was on one knee Which means Real Madrid had their problems, or so it went. Saturday had been a good day for them so far – Barcelona lost at home to Real Betis, Atletico Madrid were beaten on loan by Mallorca, and Tech Cobo on loan overtook Jan Oblak. The last minute in the Metropolitano – But this was bad news, the importance of which was simply expressed. Two words and two tags of interpretation will do: Benzema And turning off. It was cold and humid, loud and 0-0 in Real Sociedad where no one won but only one team scored, and that was due to a mistake in the 90th minute that left goalkeeper Alex Remiro in tears. Now the visiting team’s top scorer, the irreplaceable man, had to be replaced.

It lasted 15 minutes. Pointing at his left leg, Benzema threw his shirt into the crowd as he was grabbed by a man he wasn’t supposed to. Climb up the stairs, past the glass-fronted VIP boxes built into the tunnel – the “zoo,” as some call it – and turn left toward the dressing room. He scored 17 goals and eight assists with him, 12 and 7 in the league. When he first looked at the bench, Carlo Ancelotti signaled to remain calm, which he could have directed at everyone else as much as his captain, which wasn’t easy. Nobody has more goals or assists than Benzema. The man who unexpectedly took his place didn’t have anything at all. Luka Jovic didn’t play good football, let alone provide a goal or assist: 81 minutes he’s been on the field all season. He has not scored for Real Madrid in 664 days.

After 41 minutes, he took the two titles with Real Madrid. Jovic’s superb shot provided Vinicius with opening the scoring, and then sprinted into the net for a second goal, leaving Real Madrid eight points clear. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When Benzema pulled out, Spanish television commentator Carlos Martinez insisted: “This is no joke.” “The difference between what you have on the pitch and on the bench is huge,” said former Real Madrid player, academy coach, lead singer of the rock band Pig Noise and one of the media’s most intelligent analysts, Alvaro Benito.

The controversy has recently turned around why Ancelotti has not rotated, especially with the race started by Madrid: Seville, Athletic, Real Sociedad, Inter and Atletico in 14 days. In the three matches played so far, nine of the 11 players started each game and Lucas Vázquez was forced to score by Dani Carvajal against Athletic. When it comes to picking a team, 10 is virtually guaranteed and the eleventh is the choice between Rodrygo and Marco Asensio. Saturday was Vinicius twenty consecutive start. Six players have more than 1,000 league minutes, and that would probably be nine if Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy and Toni Kroos were fit to start: Mendy started seven of the last eight in La Liga, Carvajal five of seven, and Kroos eight out of 10.

If initially the idea was to rotate, it has been left aside, at least for now. Ancelotti doesn’t see the need to rest players assuming the fatigue he doesn’t see – “I don’t want to change what’s going well for one of the assumptions” – or why decisions made now should be based on April’s hypothetical fatigue. Instead of spinning during this run, the idea seems to be to overtake it, collect points that cannot be removed from you and rest afterwards if necessary. This idea is implemented within games: “You can play for 60 minutes with players of higher quality, and then use players with more energy for the remaining 30 minutes,” says Ancelotti.

The Real Madrid coach struggled with injuries: the absence of Fede Valverde in particular deprived him of space to maneuver. “The players prefer not to sit outside the field: ‘I feel better when I play than when I rest,’” said 36-year-old Luka Modric. In essence, there is one simple thing expressed in Ancelotti’s comments: some players are better than others. In it there are players you don’t believe in, team members you don’t quite trust, you doubt you don’t have anyone to rotate with.While there is an element of Catch 22 to contend with – The footballer doesn’t get more chances because he’s not good enough, and the footballer doesn’t get enough because he doesn’t get more chances The bottom line is: you want your good players on the pitch.

This is Benzema, not Jovic.

Only six players have cost Real Madrid more than Jovic – Zinedine Zidane, Kaka, Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Eden Hazard. But a little out of place, he is still young, inconspicuous, has not really settled or integrated since joining the club for €60m, and is perhaps considered The A prominent striker in Europe at the time. He got a little injured, he got covid, he had trouble to break the lockdown again in Serbia – they said he was out to celebrate his girlfriend’s birthday, he said he was going to the pharmacy – he got training at home, he went back to Germany on loan looking for opportunities he didn’t get in Spain, scored two goals on the spot in 28 minutes. This was pretty much it.

Karim Benzema shows Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti as he injured his knee.
Karim Benzema shows Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti as he injured his knee. Photo: Soccrates Images / Getty Images

It wasn’t as bad as it was bad He was Absolutely; Not only has he not scored for Real Madrid since February 2020, which is when Benzema scored 54, he has only scored two goals in his career there and neither of them mattered. One was fifth late in the 5-0 win over Leganes, and the other was fourth late in the 4-1 win over Osasuna. The most important thing he did in Spain was to walk away from the handball that would have saved Leganes on the final day of the 2019-20 season.

So far. Now he had just gone and won them the league. Well kinda. Madrid’s day hasn’t been as good as this for 79 years: according to Marca, it was the last time they won and both Barcelona and Atlético lost. “We knew the results and that gave us a boost,” Modric said. Jovic’s goal and assist put Real Madrid’s eight-point lead over Sevilla, having played a game more. They are nine points ahead of Betis, 10 points ahead of Atletico and Real Sociedad, 16 In Front Of Barcelona. No team would have passed eight or more points in this delay and Not won the league. “If they beat Atletico next weekend, there will be no point in the league,” said Paco Jimez, former Rayo Vallecano coach.

When it mattered, Real Madrid did it, Carlo Ancelotti calmly led his team to eight straight wins. They started this crucial round with nine points out of nine. No rotation, only results. Perhaps it wasn’t always convinced and it didn’t always go as planned – Sevilla were the better team last weekend and after somehow beating Athletic 1-0 in the middle of the week, Marcelino Garcia Toral insisted: “I’ve played football for a long time and I haven’t seen Something like it before ”- but he succeeded. He convinced this time, blocking a shot on goal and scoring twice what Real Madrid had allowed all season at home.

Quick guide

League results


Granada 2-1 Alaves, Real Sociedad 0-2 Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Mallorca, Barcelona 0-1 Real Betis, Seville 1-0 Villarreal, Celta Vigo 1-2 Valencia, Levante 0-0 Osasuna, Elche 3 Cadiz, Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Espanyol

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This does not mean that it was exactly planned. “Who the hell would have bet a dime on Jovic being Benzema tonight?” asked El País. Had something gone wrong, there may have been criticisms for pushing Benzema or not giving Jovic minutes sooner. However, the French player’s injury does not look serious, and this was another reminder that there is no such thing as a bad footballer in Madrid. The last time Benzema was forced to miss a match, Mariano made his only appearance of the year and provided a superb backball for Vinicius to score against Elche. This time, Jovich was in charge. “The season has not been easy for him, but we are trying to give him the confidence to wait for his time,” Modric said. “He has shown that we can count on him.”

Doing it is not that easy, and still less when you haven’t done it before. Ancelotti recently revealed that a player told him that a footballer who does not resent being left out is not a footballer at all. And you can’t necessarily count on your teammates to support their claim for a place. “You have to say it, but I know, I was a player: the player just wants to play. He wants you to put them on the pitch, that’s it,” Ancelotti said on Saturday. “The hardest part of my job is this. If a player who is not playing suffers, they are not happy, which is impossible for me. Only 11 matches, but Jovic’s performance means the atmosphere is good. You know that there are players on the bench who can play, who deserve to play, because they are serious and passionate about training and Luka Jovic is one of them.”

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