Is the magic gone at Real Madrid? That’s an impossible thing to say about the back-to-back world champions, but a shocking Copa del Rey quarterfinal elimination at the hands of Leganes (a club from the outskirts of Madrid that plays its home matches in front of 11,000) is the lowest it’s gotten for Zinedine Zidane when coupled with the 19-point gap in La Liga.
The French manager went with an understrength side after defeating Leganes 1-0 away in the first leg, although understrength still means starts for Sergio Ramos, Isco, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio.
But the likes of Isco, Benzema and Asensio have been largely criticized this season while failing to repay the trust of their manager, and that criticism will only grow in the coming days.
It was an unforgivable individual error from Nacho that led to Leganes’ opening goal, although the strike was a Molotov Cocktail lobbed into a fireworks factory — a banger.
But is the magic gone?
It’s certainly gone without Gareth Bale in the starting XI, a clear fact we’ve learned this season.
But there’s also something more fantastic in that question alluding to the fairy dust having been stolen. Call it “The James Curse,” if you will.
Perhaps there’s no better evidence of the well of fortune running dry than its most frequent visitor pulling up the pail and finally finding it empty. Today, Sergio Ramos was denied in the “Ramos Zone” — that deathly time of the match when the slick Tamatoa can always be relied on to shine.