Historically, Real Madrid is a club best known for its goal and attacking flair than for its stubborn defence.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Raùl, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Alfredo Di Stéfano and more. All famous names linked with a club and all attackers and goalscorers.
Now it’s the turn of the defence to take the plaudits after Madrid’s 0-3 win at Getafe saw them finish the first half of the season having conceded just 12 goals in LaLiga – their tightest defence in 32 years.
While goals have not exactly been free-flowing so far this term that hasn’t mattered, with a strong defence leading Los Blancos to the top of the table.
In contrast, at this point in the season a year ago, Madrid had conceded 24 goals – twice as many as this season.
Much of that has been down to a vast improvement in the form of Thibaut Courtois, arguably Madrid’s man-of-the-match in Saturday victory. The departure of Keylor Navas has calmed the goalkeeper situation and Courtois has flourished.
Plenty of praise also has to fall at the feet of Casemiro and Fede Valverde, the two rocks in Madrid’s midfield. Casemiro has been enjoying arguably his best season to date while Valverde has come on to the scene and made himself a first-choice starter under Zinedine Zidane.
Madrid will now hope to use that fine form to bring home a first trophy of the season next week when they travel to Saudi Arabia for the Spanish Super Cup.