It does not take a person to have the brains of a rocket scientist to state that a football team performs best when all their stars are on the field where they can do impact and not on the bench.
So it is surprising indeed when questions have arisen on whether the famed attacking trio of Madrid, the “BBC”, a nickname stemming from the initial letters of the members of the trio Bale, Benzema, and Cristiano, should start or not in arguably the most vital match of the season for Real Madrid against PSG.
To say that this has been a disastrous season for Real Madrid would be an understatement. Hence, when a round of 16 match has seemed to be a vital match for the Blancos and on top of that, questions are arising for the attacking trio reveals many underlying issues within the squad.
Bale’s time in Madrid has been an up-and-down rollercoaster ride with constant injuries hampering at every significant progress. While his impact has been big with the Welshman playing major roles in all finals he has participated in, his presence in the medical room more than on the pitch has left many fans and club members alike frustrated. Added to that is his massive price tag which Madrid had to pay.
Benzema has never been a prolific scorer and Ronaldo’s on and off form this season has seen the spotlight shine brightly than ever upon him. His current season has been worst yet regarding goal-scoring. Although his playmaking is his best attribute, he is still a striker, and his primary duty should be to score goals which he is not very prone to do with his inability to take chances a constant source of annoyance for the fans.
Incredibly, since Bale joined Real Madrid, the trio have not even started half the games that Real Madrid have played together. This has raised serious questions about whether it is wise to rely on this trio.
While Zidane would like to start all three together, more often than not, it has just not been possible to do so. Therefore, Zidane has had to start and go with other options, most of which have included Isco as a playmaker while Ronaldo and Benzema tuck inside in a 4-3-1-2 formation. He has also, at times, gone with Asensio playing wide in a standard 4-4-2 formation.
When Bale was injured for the latter half, it was Isco’s resurgence in form along with Ronaldo’s goals that saw Real Madrid clinch La Liga and the UCL. Hence, this increased Isco’s status with the Real Madrid fans who already loved him because of his Spanish status. This again, added pressure on Zidane to start Isco ahead of Bale even when the Welsh winger returned.
There is no doubt that Real Madrid have more balance when Isco plays instead of Bale. The 4-4-2 formation adds stability and provides a vital link between the midfield and attack in the form of Isco who acts as a playmaker. It is easier for Madrid to transition between attack and defense within this system.
The 4-3-3 formation, on the other hand, places a great deal of pressure on the midfield who have to run up and down to help both in attack and defense which in turn, increases the odds of their midfield being overrun.
However, it is next to impossible to put an attacking dynamo like Bale, who can change the match at any given time, on the bench. His pace alone makes him a huge asset and adds a counter-attacking edge to Madrid and a sheer unpredictability due to his gift of scoring outrageous goals from long range.
Zidane has stuck with the BBC but now faces a vital question in the face of their most crucial match of the season:
Start with the BBC and add a counter-attacking depth to Madrid but cause instability in the midfield or go with a 4-4-2 and drop one member of the trio and add stability but remove a vital piece of their offense? Zidane may contemplate with this fact before the big game against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.