Real Madrid’s biggest success this season is gradually turning into their biggest area for improvement. Jude Bellingham has had the attack structured around him by Carlo Ancelotti this season to devastating effect, with the Englishman scoring 13 times in 14 appearances this season. Yet when he doesn’t score, Los Blancos are struggling to find a response from elsewhere.
In every game Bellingham has scored, Real Madrid have won. Diario AS also say that he is responsible for 44.8% of their goals, giving credence to the idea that if you stop Bellingham, that is half of the job. While the season is young, this is the highest ever share of goals that one player has been responsible for in a Real Madrid shirt.
Bellingham has failed to score on five occasions this season: Las Palmas (did not play), Real Sociedad, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Rayo Vallecano. On three of those occasions, Los Blancos could not win, taking two draws against Sevilla and Rayo, and a defeat to Atletico.
Meanwhile those around him are struggling to hit the net. Vinicius Junior did suffer an injury, but his three goals and two assists compare unfavourably to five goals and four assists at this stage last season. Rodrygo has just two goals and one assist, compared to 10 (5 + 5) goal contributions last season.
A major part of the issues stem from the fact that Karim Benzema was only replaced by Joselu Mato, brought in primarily to be a rotational option. He does have five goals this season (one every 151 minutes), but Benzema had already hit seven. Joselu at least is scoring at a rate that would allow him to hit 18 goals for the campaign, one more than he scored with Espanyol last season.
Relevo note that on current projection, Vinicius would score 14 goals this season, and Rodrygo 7, compared to the 23 goals and 19 they contributed last campaign. Between those two and Benzema, Real Madrid could count on 73 goals. Even with Bellingham’s form, they would hit just 67 goals, bearing in mind that Marco Asensio (12 goals) is gone, and Real Madrid did not manage to compete for the La Liga title last season.
Fede Valverde was another source of goals last season, and had eight to his name at this stage last year. While he slowed down and reached 12 for the entire season, his singular goal thus far has not helped either.
Progression is not linear, and it seems likely that Rodrygo and Vinicius will improve their numbers, especially as the team becomes better versed in their current system. Yet the pressure is on the Brazilian duo to step up in Benzema’s absence. Most predict that Bellingham will not be able to continue at such a snesational pace, and thus their contribution comes into focus, although neither look entirely comfortable in the new shape. Ancelotti insists he has sufficient resources, but questions are now being asked.