Any football team (Okay, any good professional football team) is like a body. If one part is injured, the whole body feels the pain.
Real Madrid is no different and the one player who has made such a huge difference since coming back from injury is Xabi Alonso. Somewhere between the obsession of media with Ronaldo’s (count Bale and Benzema too) new tricks, goals, gestures and the inability of Benzema to score any meaningful goals is the massive impact that Alonso has made in just 3 partial games, since his comeback.
He has not played a full game yet. Only in 3 games in which he has been involved, he has showcased why this body of Real Madrid relies so much on him (though most of the media would have you believe that it’s Ronaldo and Bale who make Real Madrid tick) in order to function properly.
Ronaldo and Bale are like the hands and legs of a body. They are required and deserve the attention they get but obviously they cannot work without a brain. That brain is Alonso. Without his ability to link up the defense and attack with a single touch, Real Madrid look so ordinary.
Alonso is the one who does all the dirty work. The work that goes unnoticed but must be done. Watching Ronaldo scream past other players and reveling in Bale’s powerful shots is far more entertaining than watching Alonso getting into the thick of the action to get the ball back or pump a ball down the wings after saving Real Madrid from a compromised defensive position.
Even with that, that is not all what Alonso does. He is a calming influence on the goal keeper because of his communication skills on the pitch. He organizes the defense like no other, applauds players who look nervous when they actually do something useful. Alonso can perform his part in attacking other teams as well. Have a look at a shot Alonso took against Juventus just to remind us that he can make the ball talk in more ways than one. Remember, Alonso, naturally, is a right footed player.
Not bad for a ‘defensive’ midfielder I guess.
This one is not bad either even though he scored it for Liverpool.