Real Madrid football club has suffered a 7-3 loss to Atletico Madrid in a pre-season match on Friday night.

After the loss Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane, said, “For us it was a friendly,” and does not ultimately matter much. This is pre-season, after all. No need to worry. Or is there?

Speaking further, he also said, “For Atletico, it wasn’t.”

And captain Sergio Ramos reiterated that same message in the mixed zone. “We treated it like a friendly,” he said. “Atleti didn’t.”

There was certainly some truth in that. Atletico went ahead inside 45 seconds, scored again after eight minutes and were 5-0 ahead at half-time.

The Rojiblancos then went 6-0 up early in the second half, later led 7-1 and won 7-3 as Diego Simeone threw on a number of youngsters late in the game and Madrid scored twice in the final few minutes.

If anything, though, the scoreline flattered Los Blancos and Marca called it a “scandalous and hurtful beating for a pitiful Real Madrid” in their Saturday edition. Ouch.

“We lacked a lot of things,” Zidane admitted. “Intensity above all.”

“Intensity” is a word Zidane mentions every time his team loses. His idea seems to be that if Madrid match the intensity of their rival, their extra individual quality will see them through.

In the Champions League Finals contested between these two teams in 2014 and 2016, there was very little to separate the pair. But both times, Madrid matched Atleti for intensity and came through to win.

All the while, Los Blancos kept losing to Atleti domestically. In the Champions League, Madrid’s players all worked hard, they all ran, they all defended. In other competitions, not so much.

Real Madrid, for all the glory and grandeur, can also be a complicated club. It is a club where superstar signings are referred to as “Galácticos” and defensive duties deemed unfashionable for those players.

Like Zidane in his playing days, Cristiano Ronaldo rarely tracked back and Gareth Bale has only done so sporadically in his six seasons in Spain, despite having begun his career as a defender.

Yet there was Bale back on the goal line clearing the ball as he helped Madrid come back from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 with Arsenal – before a win on penalties – on Tuesday night.

Bale was brought on with Madrid 6-1 down on Saturday, in what will likely be his last game for the club as he prepares to move to China. There was little chance of him inspiring a comeback in this one.

Source: Evening Standard