Real Madrid missed Manchester United star against City

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Manchester City’s long-awaited desire for Champions League glory has never looked closer to being met. The English side arguably played a mini-final as a resurgent Real Madrid looked to be the favourites. The game headed into the Etihad with a 1-1 tie – all to play for.

But that was not how it seemed on the night with the English side stomping all over their opponents. The 4-0 victory was in fact a kind one as a brace from Bernardo Silva, and goals from Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez were just the ones that went in amidst numerous other attempts.

While fingers can certainly be pointed at Madrid’s backline, it is arguably in the midfield that the battle was lost.

The Spanish outfit were overwhelmed by the City buildup and their personnel were clearly not up to the task. In fact, it is in such a situation that Los Blancos arguably missed Casemiro the most.

The Manchester United midfielder scripted greatness at Madrid in precisely the kind of specialist role the away side was aching for in the Champions League semi-final. Apart from a steady defensive role, his interceptions and tackles would have repeatedly broken the City onslaught, leading to some attempts for Madrid to make an offensive run or two. That opportunity was simply not available in this lineup.

Another reason for the same is that Madrid simply haven’t found the person to best replace Casemiro. In Aurelien Tchouameni, they still have a relatively raw talent who was relegated to the bench. Meanwhile, Toni Kroos, for all his exemplary abilities, could not cut it as a deep midfielder in the same manner as the United star.

A lot of eyebrows were raised at that transfer at the end of last campaign, but it is in this high-profile defeat that Madrid may most feel the brunt of the deal.