There will be plenty for Zinedine Zidane to listen to after this monumentally inept performance in Wembley if he so chooses to pay attention to it. Commentators in Spain will drown this Real Madrid team in criticism. This was a performance unworthy of the club, of the standing Zidane has given the team in the past two seasons.
What he should undoubtedly take on board - more than anything else - is the sound of close to 90,000 Tottenham Hotspur fans serenading their team at 3-0 up with “olés” as loud as you’d hear in any Spanish bullring; the kind which rain down on the arena just before the matador delivers the coup de grace and puts the poor wretched bull out of his misery.
Real Madrid have won two Champions Leagues in a row. They are the Liga titleholders. They were being toyed with by Spurs with fully 20 minutes to play.
Teams have bad nights, sure, but Madrid are having a bad season. They managed to take shelter in the Champions League up to now from their desperately unsatisfactory league form but here their cover was blown. Madrid were shown up for what they currently are.
They were sluggish and second to key balls in midfield. Their key players are coasting and under no significant pressure for their positions. Looking through their bench it was easy to conclude that Zidane had included a few left over from the UEFA Youth League game between these sides earlier in the day given their tender years.
Where is the depth of quality? Things are bad when Spurs can cope better with key absences than Madrid can.
It wasn’t only the likes of Nacho and Achraf Hakimi making the mistakes although the former’s decision to try to run the ball out with Harry Kane in pursuit brought fatal consequences with the first goal. Toni Kroos was like a golfer struggling with his swing. He tried passing the ball long time and again, switching play and taking set-pieces in his usual fashion but couldn’t seem to get his aim right.
Sergio Ramos’s defending on the second Dele Alli goal would earn an amateur player an earful in a five-a-side match.
Karim Benzema claimed to be “embarrassed” for Gary Lineker after the former Barcelona striker suggested he might not score enough. Here was his chance to put his fingers to his lips and let his feet do the talking. There was none of that.
Madrid appear to be flailing. They will certainly hit form this season and will probably peak in fitness and fluency in the spring. But right now they look a team short in every department and were soundly, convincingly, thoroughly beaten.
They are also paying the price for letting the likes of Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez go in the summer and in fairness could probably have used Danilo or Pepe here too on the night.
Zidane’s system - if we can call it that - depends on his main players getting their stuff right. In other big clubs, under-performance leads to getting dropped. At Madrid – and especially with the likes of Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Mateo Kovacic and Gareth Bale on the infirm list – the coach simply cannot exert that sort of pressure on his starters.
It might well be the hardest thing to keep a top side motivated – especially one which has gorged itself on success in recent seasons but that is no excuse. Aside from a face-saving exercise which commenced at 3-0 down, Madrid were outthought, outfought, outplayed.
Madrid have had bad nights this season – against Valencia, Levante, Real Betis and Girona – but this was another level of ineptitude. Spurs were playing in all white and it was hard to tell who was Real Madrid.