Since the Portuguese star left Real Madrid, the two players have been decisive in the team
When a player who has scored 450 goals in 438 games decides to leave, that gap seems impossible to fill. In the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, people starts to speak about a "Post-Christian" stage in which Real Madrid will go through a period of transition with more pain than glory until signing a similar referent.
The international and Spanish press did not hesitate in predicting a black future to the merengue set. Especially because, just like last season, Real did not sign major players, except goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and the young promise Vinicius Junior.
Faced with this policy of austerity by the president, Florentino Pérez, all eyes were on two men: Karim Benzemá and Gareth Bale. The first comes from completing his worst season since he came to Real Madrid, in 2009, with harsh criticism from fans and many voices calling for an exit for the French striker.
The second, overcoming his injuries, was decisive in the final stretch of last year, winning the thirteenth Champions League of the white team. Just a few minutes after proclaiming himself champion, the Welshman said: "I was surprised not to be a starter today, I deserved to be, I need to play more and if it is not here, we will have to look for other options".
With that uncertain panorama came the World Cup summer and the focus was on what was happening in Russia. After what everyone knew was confirmed, Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid, also through the back door, as happened to other white stars in the past.
Without a reference in attack and with Benzema and Bale severely questioned, Julen Lopetegui's Real Madrid kicked off the campaign and received the first blow in the European Supercup, where they fell 4-2 to Atlético de Madrid. Despite the defeat and criticism, they began to see that both strikers played more loose, more relaxed, and above all, that the team game stopped spinning around a player to be more collective.
The confirmation of this change has arrived in the league, with a hopeful start that invites optimism, and where both Benzema and Bale have shown that they can be important. Both are in the top positions of the scorers table, competing against Lionel Messi.
The French and the Welsh have taken a great weight off, play without pressure and without the need to demonstrate at all times who are under the long shadow of the Portuguese crack.
Furthermore, it is necessary to highlight the good moment of the Spanish players of the squad, such as Isco, Sergio Ramos, Marco Asensio, and Danni Carvajal, who showed that they are in a great level, as could be seen in the last FIFA World Cup against England.
It is still too early to predict what Real Madrid can do this season, but what does seem clear is that the team has a staff with enough quality to be competitive in all the tournaments. While, in Turin, everyone is wondering if Cristiano Ronaldo will be able to maintain with the 'Vecchia Signora' the numbers with which he broke all the records in Spain.
LatinAmerican Post | Jose María González Alonso
Translated from “Después de Cristiano Ronaldo: Karim Benzema y Gareth Bale resucitaron”
* Writer's opinion does not represent this newspaper
Listen this article