Real Madrid forward Rodrygo has admitted Los Blancos lost form after beating Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season in October, but insists it was not the result of the squad “relaxing” with an eye on the 2022 World Cup.
Real dropped points in the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk and RB Leipzig either side of Barcelona, with a draw against Girona and loss to Rayo Vallecano following in La Liga.
With club football now on hold until after the World Cup, Real have slipped to second behind Barcelona in the Spanish standings, despite earlier opening up a three-point lead.
– We started the season very well and we didn’t lose any matches. But it is true that after Madrid-Barça we lowered the level we had, says Rodrygo to AS.
“No one relaxed by Qatar. Madrid always come out to win. Let no one think that anyone here lowers their guard or doesn’t put their foot in,” stressed the youngster.
“It’s true that a World Cup in November is something new. It can affect before the games, but when you’re on the pitch you give everything to win and you forget about the World Cup and everything.
Rodrygo declared that the defeat to Rayo Vallecano “hurt us a lot”, admitting: “We didn’t manage it…that night in Vallecas we didn’t play well. I think we could have played all night against Rayo and we wouldn’t have won.
“All rivals against Madrid play the game of their lives and against other rivals they don’t play with that intensity. That is the greatness of Madrid and we accept it. We are used to that.”
However, Rodrygo was also critical of the referee, and especially the VAR, for appearing to let some incidents go. It follows a recent report from Spain that Real are dismayed by what they see as a lack of protection for Vinicius Junior from alleged rough treatment.
“[Referees] allow everything,” he argued. “I have already said what happened to me [against Cadiz] with Fali was a shame and that VAR didn’t say anything either. He looked at me and hit me, it was no accident. I don’t know what VAR is. But we are [also] self-critical.”
Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders & Toby Cudworth to look back at Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cups’ series. We’re taking a trip down memory lane – join us!