Real Madrid’s defensive record suggests further reinforcements are needed

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

Real Madrid have once again spent big money in the transfer window with nearly £300m thrown at a number of new signings. But despite some exciting names joining the squad, their issues at the back remain unsolved.

On the chalkboard

By this point and after only one pre-season tour and three games played in the new 2019/20 La Liga season, it’s becoming pretty obvious: Real Madrid are leaking goals. During the summer when they were gearing up for the new campaign, Los Blancos played five games and conceded an incredible 16 goals, almost equalling their worst-ever tally from 1980 when they let 17 strikes rattle their net.

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When we crunch the numbers a bit more we get a rather worrying figure of 3.2 goals conceded per game, which is far too many for a club of Real Madrid’s pedigree and stature, not to mention their aspirations.

And the problems were not fixed at the beginning of 2019/20 either. In the first three games they played, the Galacticos conceded four goals, which is only two fewer than they’ve scored in the process. Clearly, there’s a glaring flaw in that squad: their defence.

Out with the old, in with the new

If Zinedine Zidane was looking for culprits for this crime, which he should be doing, he wouldn’t have to look much further than his own backline. All four of Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal have seen some better days. Ferland Mendy’s performance against Villarreal immediately showed how big of a difference it makes to have a good defender in the squad, but it was actually the centre-backs that have been questioned as of late.

Both Varane and Ramos have averaged only 1.3 tackles per game in La Liga so far this season and the Frenchman has only one interception per game while the Spaniard sits at 1.3. It’s safe to say that they haven’t really set the world alight with their performances and Zidane should be looking to bring more competition into the ranks.

Eder Militao is the only new centre-back who joined the squad but he’s yet to make his official debut in the competition, which might suggest Zidane is sticking with more familiar faces for now. And looking at the stats and Madrid’s leakiness in the back, that might not be the best of ideas.

Real have played a total of 21 games since Zidane’s return and in that period they’ve won eight, drawn six and lost seven games. Their goal difference is rather bad as well: 36 scored and 35 conceded with just five clean sheets.

Something has to change fast and it would be wise of Zidane to forget all about Neymar, who seems to be back on the table, and look for some new defenders instead.

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