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Real Madrid Lopetegui's impact

Real Madrid have changed their style with the arrival of head coach Julen Lopetegui, going from a relatively direct team under Zinedine Zidane to a much more possession-based side.

The opening LaLiga Santander fixture against Getafe saw Madrid win 2-0 with 77.95 percent possession, the third highest figure since 2009, but lost against Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup with 55 percent.

Though their city rivals made it 2-2 on the night while Real were experiencing their best period of the game with the ball.

Never under Zidane did Los Blancos record a percentage as high as Lopetegui's side did against Getafe and while they dominated matches under the Frenchman, possession was never the number one priority.

Witness Julen Lopetegui's master class Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu in their next LaLiga home fixture against city rivals Leganés by booking your tickets here and now! 

Perhaps unsurprisingly with the attackers on offer to Madrid coaches in the past, counter-attacking has been a key philosophy going back to Jose Mourinho's time in charge and that was still evident during Zidane's reign at the club; arguably the greatest evidence of this style was Mourinho's Madrid side winning 4-0 away at Bayern Munich while Pep Guardiola was in Bavaria in 2014.

Four years later, in 2018, Real have a plethora of outstanding midfielders, despite the exit of Mateo Kovacic on loan to Chelsea.

With the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Isco, Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio, along with players who act as extra midfielders like Marcelo and Karim Benzema, there is an abundance of quality and it is Kroos who will be the one in charge of dictating the play for Lopetegui's squad.

Against Getafe, Kroos began the game as the deepest midfielder with Casemiroon the bench and this enabled the team to play much quicker with the German beginning moves; this could become a regular tactic in more games this season, particularly at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Witness Julen Lopetegui's master class Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu in their next LaLiga home fixture against city rivals Leganés by booking your tickets here and now! 

Sat between the two centre-backs, the 28-year-old initiated all of the attacks for Los Blancos and played 119 passes, of which 117 were completed - a 98% success, which rose to 100% in passes played in Getafe's half, many of them after he pushed on in midfield during the second half.

Now without Cristiano Ronaldo, it is likely that this style of play will become synonymous with Madrid as they look to control and dominate the game but through passing and waiting for opportunities to arise, chiefly against opponents such as Getafe.

The fans must have patience and while Lopetegui did not experience a comfortable exit from his role as national team coach, he developed a playing style that made Spain one of the favourites for the 2018 World Cup; the hope for Realfans is that he is able to do this at the Bernabeu.

Witness Julen Lopetegui's master class Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu in their next LaLiga home fixture against city rivals Leganés by booking your tickets here and now! 

The high press operated under Lopetegui recovers the ball and the players then act in a calm manner, either through playing short balls or through playing it to the striker given the ability and accuracy of the club's long-range passers.

The 2-0 result against Getafe was not spectacular but this is the first page in a new book, one that needs time.

On Sunday, Real Madrid travel to Girona to play at the Estadi Montilivi, a stadium they lost at last season, but it will be interesting to see whether this new philosophy can be continued into week two of this LaLiga Santander season.

Witness Julen Lopetegui's master class Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu in their next LaLiga home fixture against city rivals Leganés by booking your tickets here and now! 

Source: Marca / Santiago Siguero

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