Ronaldo & Bale warm up for CL, but defence a concern

first_imgPrimera División Ronaldo & Bale warm up for Liverpool, but Real Madrid’s defensive problems remain a concern Ben Hayward Last updated 1 year ago 05:17 5/20/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(12) Cristiano Ronaldo Villarreal Getty Primera División UEFA Champions League Villarreal v Real Madrid Real Madrid v Liverpool Villarreal Real Madrid Liverpool Gareth Bale Cristiano Ronaldo The Portuguese forward returned from injury with a goal, with the Welsh winger on target too. However, Los Blancos were less convincing at the back With their La Liga season out of the way, Real Madrid can now focus all their energies on next Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool in Kiev.Barcelona were crowned champions of the Primera Division late last month and since then, the domestic campaign has been almost an unwanted distraction for Los Blancos. However, it has been useful for coach Zinedine Zidane to try out players and Sunday’s trip to Villarreal was the last such opportunity ahead of next weekend’s European showpiece.And although there was nothing for Real to play for, Zidane picked a surprisingly strong side for the game at the Estadio de la Ceramica, selecting close to a first-choice line-up with one exception as he handed a debut to son Luca in goal. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Cristiano Ronaldo returned from an ankle injury he had sustained in the Clasico clash at Camp Nou against Barca earlier this month, with Zidane having claimed in the build-up that the Portuguese was “120 per cent fit” for this game.However, it was Bale who opened the scoring with yet another fine finish as he checked back and then slotted a low right-footed shot into the corner for his fifth goal in the past four matches.Just a few weeks ago, the Welsh winger had appeared completely out of contention for a place in the Champions League final line-up, but goals against Leganes, Barcelona, Celta Vigo (two) and now Villarreal have given Zidane food for thought. On this form, can he possibly be left out in Kiev?Barring injury, Ronaldo will certainly not be and his header means he has netted in each of his last 10 league appearances. That is more good news for Madrid and Zidane and, having made his return with a goal, the Portuguese was taken off along with Luka Modric after 62 minutes.Real were in cruise control at that point, but their finish to the match will not have been quite so pleasing for the coaching staff as the defence switched off and let Villarreal back into it.Villarreal Real Madrid scoreFirst, substitute Roger Martinez was allowed to cut inside and blast past the helpless Luca Zidane into the top corner and after that, Marcelo lost the plot completely as he stepped out and allowed Samu Castillejo all the space in the world to latch onto a simple ball over the top and race clear to make it 2-2.Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool’s coaching staff will have been watching and, given all the pace and quality in the Reds’ attack, they will definitely feel they can cause damage against Madrid’s back line.This was not a rotated Real rearguard, either. Apart from Luca Zidane in goal, Madrid’s defence was the one that will start in Kiev: Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal and Marcelo.It may have been merely a lack of concentration in a game that mattered little in the end, but the draw meant Madrid will definitely finish third in a forgettable league campaign and despite the form of Ronaldo and Bale in front of goal, they have some tightening up to do ahead of next week’s date in Ukraine.last_img