Ancelotti reflects on chastening El Clasico defeat for Real Madrid
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Despite being nine points clear at the top of the La Liga, Real Madrid were given a crushing reminder of why they cannot take their foot off the gas. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were beaten 4-0 by rivals Barcelona on Sunday night in what was one of their most embarrassing moments in El Clasico history.
Former Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring for the Catalan giants when he nodded home from close range in the 29th minute. Ronald Araujo then rose highest from a corner nine minutes later to hammed his header past Thibaut Courtois, who was vocal in how furious he was with his defenders at full time.
Ferran Torres then curled home Barca’s third just after the halftime break before Aubameyang put the icing on the cake for the Camp Nou outfit in the 51st minute with a cute chip. Madrid’s performance has, understandably, been crucified.
The absence of Karim Benzema has been largely given as the main reason for Los Blancos’ collapse, but an injury to one player would not justify the entire team forgetting how to both attack and defend. But their wage bill does highlight a significant issue at the club, with funds certainly going to waste.
L’Equipe has revealed that Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard are the joint-highest earning players in the La Liga. Both forwards earn a healthy £1.89million per month – with only Gerard Pique (£1.94m) earning more in the Spanish top flight.
Hazard and Bale both did not feature in the El Clasico, with the latter ruled out with injury. Neither of the pair appears to be in Ancelotti’s plans anymore at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Hazard being linked with a return to the Premier League to either Newcastle, Chelsea or Arsenal.
The Belgium international has played just 46 minutes of football since the start of February, being an unused substitute in Madrid’s last five games. The club’s monthly expenditure is largely being spent to keep players that are now surplus to requirements, and if Madrid are keen to regain their status as one of the very best in Europe then they will need a major shakeup in the summer.
With Kylian Mbappe expected to sign at the end of the season then Bale and Hazard will slip further down the pecking order, and if Madrid win the race for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland then it would be no surprise if Ancelotti looked to offload the pair. The Italian certainly would have called upon Hazard on Sunday if he had any faith in the 31-year-old and the fact he remained on the bench only highlighted how far the forward has fallen.
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