Real Madrid 1-1 Atlético Madrid: Talking points: Rojiblancos of 10 players survived at the Santiago Bernabéu

    Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid shared the trophy in El Derby Madrileno, played at the Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday as part of the 23rd round of the La Liga campaign. The game remained goalless for 77 minutes but then, despite playing with 10 players after substitute Angel Correa earned a straight red card in 64th, the visitors took the lead with a superb header from José María Jiménez. However, 18-year-old Alvaro Rodriguez made an equally good header and equalized with five minutes left.

    Alvaro Rodriguez

    Real Madrid have been credited with a strong interest in Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham ahead of the summer transfer window, but Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano recently revealed that while the interest is genuine, the midfielder is not a priority for Los Blancos and they are in they will look for it first. sign striker, potential long-term successor to Karim Benzema.

    Now, the arrival of Alvaro may have already solved that particular problem for them. The youngster, who still plays for Real Madrid Castilla and Uruguay’s under-20s, only played twice in the Spanish top flight for Real Madrid’s seniors and scored an assist for Marco Asensio in the 92nd minute of their 0 win : 2. Away to Osasuna last week, he scored an even more important goal, his first at this level, depriving Atlético of the right to show off in the city.

    At 6ft 4in, Alvaro has great speed and positional awareness, all of which showed when he deftly took advantage of Benzema and Aurélien Chuameni, who were running forward and pulling Atlético’s defense line to jump into the air and strike. . landed a headbutt with all his might that bounced off the ground and the post before hitting the target, leaving Jan Oblak powerless to stop him.

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    A cross from the left was a great performance from veteran Luka Modric, who similarly assisted Eder Militao in Real Madrid’s 2-5 win over Liverpool at Anfield earlier this week.

    At the post-match press conference, head coach Carlo Ancelotti said he expected Álvaro to play more regularly for his side next season and promised to talk to Castilla manager Raúl González about the matter.

    Title race

    But while Alvaro’s goal, combined with early glee at avoiding what looked like a likely defeat, brought smiles to everyone’s faces at Real Madrid, the fact that they couldn’t beat their neighbors at home offered a chance. main rival Barcelona. extending their lead at the top of the table to 10 points hit arguably even harder. The Catalans play 19th-placed Almería away on Sunday night and if they win, they will score 62 points and Real Madrid 52.

    Ancelotti has promised his side won’t relinquish the La Liga title just yet, but if the gap reaches 10, it may be time for Real Madrid to abandon the league-defending part of their plan and focus more on the quest for the 15th trophy. Champions League.

    As for Atlético, this is an important result that puts them two points ahead of Betis in fifth place and one less than Real Sociedad in third place. A top four finish seems within reach considering the National League is the only front they can fight for this season.

    red card

    Of course, there was a lot of anger over referee Jesús Gil’s decision to remove Correa outright from Atlético players as well as head coach Diego Simeone, but a closer look at the incident makes it very clear that the substitute striker was in fact, just as Gil claimed. , deliberately elbowed Real Madrid defender Antonio Rüdiger in the chest.

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    Rüdiger is by no means a physically weak player and, as Simeone tried to point out, he is much bigger than Correa. The pain caused by the kick was probably significantly less than what the German international showed, but Correa’s intention to hit him cannot be disputed and the red card was certainly the right decision.

    Pablo Barrios

    Alvaro wasn’t the only teenager to draw attention in this derby. In the absence of World Cup winner Rodrigo De Paul, Simeone launched 19-year-old Pablo Barrios in the middle of a park.

    Barrios showed great performance throughout the match, often causing problems for Real Madrid in either half of the field and even dancing dangerously into his own box on several occasions. Simeone’s decision to keep him in the dressing room after the break was purely tactical: the Argentine coach wished to give striker Antoine Griezmann some support in advance and sent Correa in place of Barrios. This obviously backfired in less than 20 minutes.

    Slightly more experienced than Alvaro, Barrios has already made eight appearances in La Liga and one in the Champions League, but both of his goals came from the four Copa del Rey games he has played. Like Alvaro, he needs to be watched over the coming years.

    True midfielder

    There was a moment in this match that showed everyone the power of a club like Real Madrid. In the 63rd minute, Ancelotti removed the trio of Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos and Asensio, replacing them with Luka Modric, Aurélien Chuameni and Eduardo Camavinga. Three newcomers took over the middle of the park for themselves, and Fede Valverde made his way to the right edge of the attack line.

    As has been said, Real Madrid do not see strengthening midfield as a priority this summer and do not see themselves as favorites to sign Bellingham, and this triple change shows why. But, as Romano himself noted, things could still change if both Kroos and Modric decide at the end of the season not to renew their contracts.

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