Real Madrid have been ousted as the undisputed kings of Europe. After three successive Champions league triumphs, it’s is time to rebuild at the Santiago Bernabéu.

 The Spanish side’s problems run deeper than the 4-1 embarrassment at home to Ajax; although the young Dutch side deserve their reward for being such a vibrant unit, pushing forward every time they got on the ball.

 Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane leaving Real Madrid should have been a wake-up call for Florentino Perez to rebuild a squad in need of fresh talent. What would follow was a disastrous 4-month spell for Julen Lopetegui at the helm, followed by Santiago Solari’s current spell which started well, has gone sour in recent weeks by four straight home losses and confirmation of a trophyless campaign.

 Former Academy manager Solari has provided the likes of Vinicius Júnior, Sergio Reguilón, Marcos Llorente, Federico Valverde and Dani Ceballos increased playing time whilst Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio and Isco spend most of their time on the bench.

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David Neres nets the second of the night. Image: SIPA USA/ PA IMAGES

It’s hard to believe that the Madrid President underestimated the exits of a legendary goalscorer and a club hero as a player who achieved a mythical feat in three straight continental wins as a manager; by trying to replace them with youngsters led by an inexperienced manager. Perhaps the club are understandably ditching their Galactico model for one that promotes youth but it’s premature to lose such important figures then leave out more who were part of a solid winning team.

 Real Madrid are paying the price for failing to effectively plan an important transitional period and can only watch Barcelona lift another domestic double this season when battling the likes of PSG, Juventus, Manchester City and Bayern Munich for the UEFA Champions League crown.

The Ajax players celebrating a wonderful night infront of their fans, against the backdrop of a virtually empty home end. Image: Getty

 It’s fitting that a young and relentless team in Ajax broke Los Blancos dominance of Europe, a team assembled through thoughtful planning and meticulous scouting. 21-year-old midfielder Frenkie De Jong, who has already signed for Barcelona ahead of next season put in a brilliant night’s work and showed Madrid the rewards of properly planning a young team.

 Regardless of whether Real Madrid plump for superstars in Eden Hazard, Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi or Neymar next season; or keep with youngsters, one sure thing is they learnt a big lesson last night.


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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