Jlian Draxler once said, it would be a “dream” if Wolfsburg defeat Real Madrid. No, Draxler wasn’t acting snide or sarcastic when he uttered the statement Monday afternoon. It was the truth. After knocking off Barcelona on the weekend, Real Madrid seemed to be on top of the world.
After all, they took a half-naked team selfie in the locker room to prove it.
Well, if Wednesday’s matchup with Wolfsburg proved anything, it’s that dreams do come true.
Zinedine Zidane deployed relatively the same lineup that trumped Barcelona in El Clásico. He kept 10 of his 11 starters, solely swapping out Dani Carvajal for Danilo. However after 45 minutes, that tactical change verified that Danilo has no business playing ahead of his Spanish counterpart.
Contrary to the scoreline, Real Madrid started hot and gave off the impression that they’d leave Volkswagen Arena with a victory. Perhaps if the sideline judge obeyed Cristiano Ronaldo’s finger wag or Karim Benzema finished his chance after spinning Dante into the ground, that would’ve been the case.
Instead, Wolfsburg showed off their counter-attacking prowess, led by Draxler who enjoyed a field day on the left flank. The German out-classed Danilo, who looked like a Sunday league player during the match. In the 16th minute, Draxler took full advantage of Danilo’s defensive incompetence. He cut inside and utilized a step over to create extra space, more than enough to pick out Andre Schürrle who ultimately drew a penalty kick.
Draxler continued to harass Danilo throughout the match, who was caught out of position more than once. In the 77th minute, Danilo was caught sprinting back into position while Wolfsburg sprayed the ball across the pitch to Bruno Henrique. While the Brazilian didn’t capitalize on his chance, it doesn’t cloud Danilo’s ineffective defending.
Over the past few months, the outside defender has improved but a trip to North Germany camouflaged his development. Real Madrid could’ve cloaked Danilo’s defensive struggles with an away goal, but instead his inadequacy steals the spotlight from an all around poor performance.
A summer of transition rests on the horizon. Whether changes are made simply on the pitch or in the transfer market is yet to be seen, but it’s not out of bounds to question Danilo’s future with the club. The defender hasn’t lived up to his price tag this season and either lacks the skill-set or is mentally unfit to represent a club the stature of Real Madrid.
Either way, Zidane shouldn’t have second thoughts when penning Danilo’s name onto the lineup card.