When the dust settles on Real Madrid’s performance against Tottenham Hotpsur, it will be hard to dissuade anyone from the view that it was not what champions are made of.

Los Blancos were tepid at best for the most part, blowing hot or cold every so often.

Indeed, with some more of the finishing we have come to expect from Harry Kane and Co., the north Londoners could have departed Madrid as deserved winners.

As it is both teams will be relatively happy with a point, and for the neutral, it was certainly an absorbing watch.

Penalty shouts at both ends – one given, one waved away – chances galore and neat interplay all helped confirm the pre-match narrative of an exciting Champions League matchup.

However, Zinedine Zidane and his charges harbour genuine aspirations of winning the trophy for an unprecedented third consecutive time in the modern era, and on that night’s work they’re about as far away from being a team able to defend the title as it’s possible to be. Cristiano Ronaldo’s 110th goal in European competition doesn’t change that.

A rocky season start for Real Madrid

Real’s only two wins at home this season have come against Espanyol in La Liga, a team that haven’t won in Madrid for nigh on 20 years, and APOEL who, with the greatest of respect, are the whipping boys in Group H.

In midfield where arguably Zidane’s side are at their strongest, Tottenham’s Harry Winks, Christian Eriksen, Moussa Sissoko and Eric Dier were not only comfortable in possession but caused their more illustrious hosts multiple problems throughout proceedings.


After a shaky start to the 2017/18 campaign for Real Madrid, questions were already being asked as to Zidane’s true tactical nous, and those questions were put to him again in his post-match press conference. Clearly irked the Frenchman.

There’s no denying however, that he was out-thought on the touchline by Mauricio Pochettino – just as he was by Quique Setien when Real Betis plundered a last-gasp victory at the Bernabeu a few weeks ago.

With such a glittering array of talent at his disposal, it’s something of a worry that Real have begun to look like a rudderless ship on occasions.

At least the Frenchman is well in credit after his seven trophy wins since taking the reins less than two years ago, and he retains the utmost respect from the dressing room which is crucial at a club such as Real Madrid.

But now, more than ever before, Zidane must lead.

Lead his team out of their malaise, lead them into the next stage of the top European competition and, who knows, maybe even lead them to another Champions League title.

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