Real Madrid received two “bad news,” one more than the other in their encounter against league rivals Villareal as they lost away from home.
The first, and hence the most significant, was the whites’ 1-2 loss to Villarreal at La Cerámica, which put them further behind Barça; the second was that for the first time in the club’s history, no Spanish player started in a competitive game.
The only starting Spanish player, Carvajal, was absent due to injury.
This last one, while not necessarily negative news, does highlight the difficult time the white team is experiencing with the current crop of players.
Madrid hasn’t really been able to get a Spanish player onto the first team that has been formed in the lower categories since Carvajal and Nacho.
The right-back was unavailable for the match against Villarreal.
Nevertheless, given that only Carvajal is the white eleven’s indisputable starter, everything pointed to this moment occurring sooner rather than later.
The stand-ins were Lucas Vázquez, Asensio, and Nacho.
The foreign players that started for Real Madrid
This is the starting lineup Carlo Ancelotti selected in the encounter on Saturday vs Villarreal:
Courtois (Belgium), Mendy (France), Rüdiger (Germany), Alaba (Austria), Militao (Brazil), Modric (Croatia), Kroos (Germany), Tchouaméni (France), Valverde (Uruguay), Vinicius (Brazil) and Benzema (France). 3 Brazilians, 2 Germans, 2 French, 1 Belgian, 1 Austrian, 1 Uruguayan and 1 Croatian.
The game could not have ended worse for Madrid.
The Madridista team has lost two of its last three League games away from home (defeat against Rayo, victory against Valladolid and defeat against Villarreal).
It is currently tied for first place with Barcelona, which has played one fewer game and will play Atlético de Madrid this Sunday at the Metropolitano, with 38 points in 16 days.
How Villareal Won the Match
Real Madrid lost against Villarreal and suffered just their second La Liga loss of the year, missing the opportunity to reclaim first place.
Yeremy Pino gave the home team the lead, but Karim Benzema drew even after a questionable handball decision against Juan Foyth.
After David Alaba handled the ball and Gerard Moreno scored, Foyth earned a penalty of his own at the other end.
Real Madrid is still in second place and tied for first with Barcelona, who will be visiting Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
After earning a third straight victory, Villarreal moves up to fifth after creating the better opportunities throughout the enthralling match at Estadio de la Ceramica.
In the first half, which the hosts controlled, Alex Baena came near on numerous occasions, while Francis Coquelin hit the post with a cunning backheel after Moreno’s cross.
With a cushioned first-time pass on the volley for Vinicius Jr., Benzema created Real’s greatest first-half opportunity, but the experienced goalkeeper Pepe Reina stopped the Brazilian forward.
Early in the second half, Villarreal took the lead thanks to Pino’s error-prone pass from Ferland Mendy, but after a ball over the top touched Foyth’s palm, the referee decided to award a penalty after consulting the pitchside monitor.
Benzema scored his 227th La Liga goal, moving him into a tie for sixth place all-time with Real legend Alfredo di Stefano.
Any sense of injustice felt by the hosts was quickly dispelled, however, when Alaba slipped and handled Foyth’s low pass while placing his hand on the ground to steady himself.
Moreno then calmly sent Thibaut Courtois the wrong way from the spot after the vociferous Real appeals had finally subsided.