Atletico Madrid 0-2 Real Madrid: 6 Things We Learned
Cristiano Ronaldo dispatched two penalties Tuesday night to earn Real Madrid a 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid in the Vicente Calderon. Los Blancos not only beat their bitter rivals, but they also booked their place in the Copa del Rey final.
Over the two legs it was clear that Real Madrid was the better side. Atletico struggled for large stretches and desperately missed key stars on Tuesday night.
In the end, the reigning champions would be shown the door while Los Blancos have likely set up a Clasico final with Barcelona. The match in Madrid was not an easy won, but there was little Atletico Madrid could do to keep from bowing out.
In this article we will take a look at six things we learned from the Madrid derby and discuss what they mean for both clubs.
*All statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com
Diego Simeone Must Rotate Players More Often
Diego Simeone has found a tried-and-true system at Atletico Madrid that has already paid off immensely. However, the manager continues to turn to the same players because of the results the club is getting.
No matter how good a lineup proves to be, every club has to rotate and give other players the chance to grow. In truth, Atletico Madrid have a very deep squad of very talented players, but many of the fringe players still aren't ready to face top talent.
This was clearly seen over both legs of the Copa del Rey tie against Real Madrid.
Emiliano Insua, Javier Manquillo, Toby Alderweireld and others were clearly not ready to tackle the beast that is Real Madrid. Though some were forced to play because other stars were absent, they had not been prepared ahead of time.
As the season goes on Atletico Madrid will have to get more from their fringe players. Simeone cannot rely solely on his regular starting lineup forever and it is time for others to grow as players if they are going to make a difference for Los Colchoneros.
Every club is dependent on their best players. That is just how it works. Yet, Atletico Madrid seemed unable to perform at all without a few of their stars, and that is a problem.
Isco Is Still Searching for His Place
Isco still hasn't really found his place in the Real Madrid squad. The former Malaga man made his first start for the club since late January, which shows a lot about his current situation.
Normally a central midfielder, Isco began the game lining up as a striker. In truth, the 21-year-old played more of a false nine role, and although he did not play badly, he clearly wasn't at his best.
The golden boy was one of the marquee signings of the summer and should have more minutes under his belt for Real Madrid. Yet, Isco's role is still undefined under new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Luka Modric has cemented his role as the squad's creative mastermind, while the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Jese have locked down the wingers role without competition. So where does Isco fit?
Isco has not been playing badly by any means, in fact he has been relatively consistent. Yet, his magic is missing.
As of now, Isco will have to accept that he is not a starter and will have to fight to get more minutes. The Spanish international had a wonderful chance to make a statement against Atletico Madrid, but sadly nothing has changed for Isco.
Dani Carvajal Is Finally Solidifying His Starting Role
Since Dani Carvajal's return to Real Madrid, he has been in an ongoing battle with Alvaro Arbeloa for the starting right back spot. For the most part neither player has stood out above the other, but Carvajal is now changing that.
Carvajal was one of the most impressive players at the Vicente Calderon. In fact, WhoScored.com even named the 22-year-old the man of the match.
It's taken a few months, but Carvajal is clearly more comfortable in Real Madrid's system. He is defending stupendously and even linking up well going forward. With performances like these he definitely deserves to be named the regular starter.
Carvajal's ability to put defending first and still be able to attack well is a rare quality. Arbeloa may have experience on his side, but he can't match the quality of the 22-year-old.
Things Are Not Going to Fall Apart for Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid have now lost three straight matches across all competitions which hasn't happened in a long time. It would be easy to think that now is the time they will start to lose pace and slowly drop out of the title race, but things aren't over yet.
Every club hits a rough streak at some point and that is exactly what is going on with Atletico. Los Colchoneros now have some soul-searching to do and you can guarantee that Simeone will light the fire under his players again really soon.
Despite the recent results, La Liga is not going to become a two-horse race again right now.
There is still a three-way tie at the top of the table and all three clubs are very much in the mix. With the Copa del Rey now out of the picture, Atletico Madrid can put an even heavier focus on their domestic campaign.
Revenge Is Always Sweet
Last year Atletico Madrid stunned the football world when they won the Copa del Rey by defeating Real Madrid in the final. It was a very tense affair and tempers flared from start to finish.
Fast-forward to today and Real Madrid have definitely gotten their revenge by eliminating their rivals and the reigning champions by posting a 5-0 aggregate scoreline. Revenge is always a savory thing.
It wasn't just the fact that Real Madrid were able to eliminate Atletico Madrid, it was the way they did it. The defense performed incredibly well, the midfield dominated the pitch and the forwards were immaculate.
Though many impartial football fans around the world were likely cheering for Atletico Madrid to continue their impressive run, this was more than a victory for Real Madrid.
Los Blancos were able to silence their rivals, book a spot in the finals and reclaim their city all in the span of one week. It wasn't an easy tie for Real Madrid, but they were still able to make a statement.
A Clasico Final Is Likely on the Books
Real Madrid are officially in the Copa del Rey final and will meet either Barcelona or Real Sociedad. Seeing as how the Catalans hold a 2-0 lead going into tomorrow's meeting, the most likely scenario is that we will see a Clasico final in just a few months.
That's right, El Clasico will be back and could be even better than ever. Messi vs. Ronaldo. Neymar vs. Bale. The Copa del Rey final is going to have it all.
Tata Martino and Carlo Ancelotti have only had to manage against each other once this season, but the Copa del Rey final could be what defines their first seasons in charge of Spain's two biggest clubs.
The likely meeting between Real Madrid and Barcelona gets even bigger when we realize that the La Liga title could still be up for grabs at the end of the season. In fact, both clubs could realistically be vying for a treble season.
There is a small chance that Real Sociedad could mount a comeback against Barcelona on Wednesday, but that is very unlikely. All signs point to El Clasico. Time to mark your calendars.
What did you take away from Real Madrid eliminating Atletico Madrid? Who will win the Copa del Rey final? Leave your thoughts and comments below!