Losing the Spanish Super Cup to your biggest rivals is one thing. It’s another thing entirely to lose it the way Real Madrid did against Barcelona.
The Spanish giants were second best throughout the match and the late goal by Karim Benzema only served to mask what was a pretty horrid display from Los Blancos.
To make matters worse, the heavy defeat didn’t exactly come as a surprise or feel unwarranted.
Real Madrid have been struggling in LaLiga throughout the season but have seen their individual quality — whether it be Benzema or Vinicius Jr. or saves from Thibaut Courtois — rescue them time and time again.
Since the return from the World Cup break, their flaws have been continuously exposed, however, no one’s coming to rescue them from the fire.
Such was the case against Barcelona. Though you wouldn’t think things are as bad as they seem based off the comments from Carlo Ancelotti.
“[To say] ‘sporting humiliation’ would be a lack of respect,” Ancelotti said after the match. “We lost against Barcelona just like we beat them in the league. They played better and deserved to win, that’s all.”
Ancelotti was always going to try to play down the defeat but the performance has to be causing alarm bells to go off back at the Spanish capital. Other sides have let Real Madrid off the hook when they struggled but they were always able to get it done when it mattered. That isn’t the case anymore, at least not recently.
“The mistakes we made decided the game,” Ancelotti said. “We didn’t play the ball out well, they hit us twice on the counter and the game changed. It wasn’t a lack of attitude, it was individual mistakes.”
Ancelotti may chalk up the poor performance on individual mistakes but the collective wasn’t great either.
The Barcelona midfield ran circles around their Real Madrid counterparts. Eduardo Camavinga continues to disappoint and was subbed off at halftime. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos weren’t much better and both were replaced in the second half.
If it wasn’t for Courtois, the scoreline would have been even more lopsided.
The signs were there that a result like this against a side like Barcelona could happen. It happened in LaLiga where they lost 2-1 to Villarreal to slip three points behind the Catalans. It almost happened against Valencia in the semifinal.
Ancelotti is going to have to figure something out with the squad he has because there is unlikely to be any help coming during the winter transfer window. For better or for worse, he is stuck with what he has.
The situation could still get worse as they face Villarreal once again only in the Copa del Rey round of 16. Their next couple of fixtures aren’t easy either they are set to take on Athletic Bilbao on the road before hosting the surging Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu. Depending on the outcome of the first two matches, the atmosphere at home could turn out to be a hostile one.