Real Madrid fans can breathe an almighty sigh of relief after Sergio Ramos was passed fit to make the team’s squad to face Barcelona on Saturday (16:00 SA time).
It can only be assumed that this was head coach Zinedine Zidane’s reaction, having seen his side put in two shambolic defensive displays in the past week to leave their chances of success at Camp Nou hanging by a thread.
Barcelona are hardly reassuring themselves, but Madrid know a fit Ramos significantly boosts their chances of a positive result at Camp Nou, having been named in their squad for the Clasico.
The most recent defensive disaster class came in the shock midweek loss to Shakhtar Donetsk. Hosting a Ukrainian side in the Champions League who were missing ten first-team players, Los Blancos’ defence was torn to shreds in an alarming opening 45 minutes – and beyond.
Eder Militao and Raphael Varane were chasing shadows – mostly each other’s – as Shakhtar scored three times to inflict defeat on Zidane. Two goals in the second half weren’t enough for a comeback.
That result came off the back of another poor defeat at home to newly promoted Cadiz in La Liga. Anthony Lozano gave the visitors a deserved lead early in the game, one in which Ramos was forced off at half time due to the injury that kept him out of European action.
Taking on Barça this weekend, the first Clasico of the season could already have a major say in both sides’ seasons. Madrid could temporarily go top until Sunday at least, while Ronald Koeman’s side currently sit in ninth with seven points from their opening four league clashes.
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa