Real Madrid feasted at the Kiev Olympics beating Shakhtar, in the run-up to the Camp Nou Clásico on Sunday (4:15 pm). An incontestable 0-5 in which all were positive conclusions, although Carlo Ancelotti is cautious, like an old dog that he is in this football: “Everything went perfect, but in the Classical it will be another game, another story.”

Without a doubt it will be, but Madrid drew a good string of conclusions from its sleeve in Ukraine to dream of something great in Barcelona on Sunday: a Vinicius that not only floats among the defenders, now it also stings; a Benzema who does not need to score (although he did it in the end, in the extension) to be the best white attacker; a returned Mendy who makes sense of the entire defensive system; a machine room that over the years sounds better and better; and a coach, Carletto, who has given Madrid back its lost voracity. There are five messages for Barça.

Vinicius unchained

With his double against Shakhtar, Vinicius has already set his best goalscoring season with Real Madrid: he has seven goals in eleven games, seasoned with five assists. Last season he scored six … in 49 games. Ancelotti tries to pause between the praise, although he is unable to deny the obvious: Vini now defines better. “He has improved a lot, and he has worked a lot to get here. He improved a lot in the final meters.” Carletto already warned him in preseason that the great scorers play one or two touches, never more, and that is how Vinicius is applying it, as seen in the 0-2: uncheck behind the centrals, control (one touch) and minced before the exit of the goalkeeper (two touches).

Vinicius and Ancelotti.

The 0-3 had touches of all colors, and not one was out of tune: he got rid of four Shakhtar defenders and then shot Trubin, with hardly any angle. “It is a play that I usually do in training. In games it is more difficult, this time it has come out …”, said Vini after the duel, reducing to normal the extraordinary, one of the goals of this Champions League. Barcelona, ​​a team used to turning in attack and conceding spaces behind, already know who to fear. It would not be anything new: the Brazilian already scored in the League 2-0 at the Bernabéu, in 2019-20, in Madrid’s penultimate match before confinement due to the pandemic.

Benzema, like Messi and Cristiano

When Ancelotti is consulted about Benzema’s new attitude, about his renewed appetite for the goal after years serving in the shadow of Cristiano, it is difficult for him to explain: I think Karim has more leadership right now. Like Modric, Casemiro and Kroos. Six years ago he was younger … His personality has risen, but he still has the same quality. I liked him before and I like him now. “It is clear that he was already an excellent footballer before, but what Benzema is showing in this start of the season equates him with his former teammate CR7 and with Messi: eleven goals and eight assists in eleven official matches ( and two other goals in two Nations League games with France).


Against Shakhtar, he received the award for the best player of the duel over a Vinicius who scored two goals and assisted in another. Benzema’s performance transcended the scoreboard: he shot four times on goal and another two off the posts, he gave 37 good passes out of 48, entered 13 duels, of which he won seven, achieved three recoveries, scored a goal (in 91 ‘) and gave another. Barcelona knows well that winning the Classic will go a long way to canceling the French, who also knows his eternal rival well: he has scored ten goals in 39 games, three of them at the Camp Nou.

A fireproof stocking

Ancelotti already warned him before the duel in Kiev: “We have tried to defend well with a 4-4-2, but we have not succeeded. For this team, the best now is a 4-3-3.” In his effort to fit Hazard into the team, to move him away from the band, where he no longer has the necessary speed or the required defensive commitment, Ancelotti had partially deformed to a team that has been playing by heart for several years with a drawing of three midfielders and three attackers, as well as two very long full-backs. Before the Shakhtar, he recovered the drawing and was right.


It was the first opportunity to line up Modric, Kroos and Casemiro together; the pubalgia that the German suffered from the preseason prevented seeing them at the same time before. In Kiev, Kroos was a metronome, infallible in the pass (80 good displacements of 82), Casemiro wedged himself between the centrals and raised a wall (no less than 16 recoveries) and Modric, after a timid first half, woke up in the second with a gold assist to Vinicius and energizing the white interior game (95% of good passes in the opposite field). With room to give them rest for the Clásico, everything indicates that at the Camp Nou, Ancelotti will repeat the bet.

Mendy changes the defense

Almost six months later, Ferland Mendy returned to play a game with Madrid, and did surprisingly well, as if nothing had happened. He did not accuse inactivity, he played 70 minutes at a high level and left with commendable statistics: 29 good passes out of 31, three duels won out of four, three recoveries … But the best thing was the feeling he transmitted, giving meaning to the whole defense, which in previous games had sported severe cracks. He did it against a team like Shakhtar, with a very offensive proposal and a squad that last season scored five goals against Madrid in two games.

Mendy saves a sung goal.

The inclusion of Mendy in the eleven greatly clarifies the picture for Ancelotti. Everything indicates that the left back will be his, with Marcelo and Miguel Gutiérrez fighting for what the Frenchman does not play. That leaves Alaba focused on his central duties, Militao and Nacho competing to accompany the Austrian and Lucas Vázquez, in the absence of Carvajal due to injury at the moment, as an offensive winger on which to lean to overturn the field in close duels.

Ancelotti’s Madrid is hungry

The 0-5 witnessed another undeniable truth of the season: Ancelotti’s Real Madrid is not content with winning. He wants to crush the rival, something that in Madrid was a common currency during the Mourinho years, in the first stage of Ancelotti, with Benítez and with Zidane, also in his first stretch as coach. But since Cristiano left, the tendency of the white team towards a model of defensive solvency and effectiveness in attack, with minimal opportunities, was increasing. The proof: Madrid 2020-21 left its best mark in four goals, which it scored in just three opportunities.


This season, in eleven games, Madrid has scored four goals in one game, five twice and six in another. The comparison with Zidane’s last Madrid is odious: at this point, the whites had the previous season 21 goals for and 16 against; this year there are 29 goals in favor and only 11 against. Madrid is still not a champion of defense, he is a boxer who enters the melee and who does not mind taking a couple of jabs on the chin, but he makes up for it by unloading his offensive torrent, focused on Benzema and Vinicius, but not exclusively: they have already scored nine different players.