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The stats that show that Madrid are better without BBC!

11:30 GMT 07/03/2017
Real Madrid Ronaldo Bale Benzema
Zinedine Zidane is set to reunite the three forwards in the Champions League clash at Napoli, but the numbers show it is not necessarily a good idea


Not so long ago, they were untouchable. Together, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo have won two Champions League crowns and have formed the trident in attack for Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez and Zinedine Zidane. However, many now think Real Madrid would be better off without them all playing at once.

Ronaldo returns for Napoli clash

Ronaldo and Bale both sat out in the 4-1 win at Eibar on Saturday and Madrid's display was full of passion and urgency at Ipurua - exactly what had been missing from previous performances as Real dropped points against Valencia and Las Palmas.

In addition, Benzema was a different player. Freed from the shackles of having to provide for his high-profile team-mates, the French forward produced his finest football in some time, scoring two goals and setting up another for James Rodriguez.

That has sparked a debate and, in an online poll ran by AS, 77 per cent of Madrid fans said they did not want their team to start with Bale, Benzema and Cristiano all together against Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday.

And the stats seem to show why. With the three all in the side in 2016-17, Madrid have won just nine of their 16 matches, drawing six and losing the other. That is a win percentage of just 56.2%, while they average 2.8 goals per game.

Zidane delighted by Benzema impact

Meanwhile, Madrid have won 19 of their 25 matches when the 'BBC' have not all played together, at a much greater win percentage of 76%, drawing four and losing two. In those fixtures, they have scored an average of 2.9 goals per game and also conceded far fewer (one per game compared to 1.5 when Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo are all there).

That suggests the team work harder when one, two or all of the three forwards are out and that allegation is nothing new. Ronaldo is usually exempt from the defensive work, while Bale has been accused of slacking at times and Benzema criticised this term for a lack of intensity as well in the current campaign.

In the wake of Los Blancos' 3-3 draw at home to Las Palmas last Wednesday, it was reported in Spain that captain Sergio Ramos had told Ronaldo he had to run. But the defender later denied he had said that and added: "We all run here."

Madrid fans who have watched the team on a regular basis will know that is not always the case, however, and asked about the system he will use in the Champions League on Tuesday, Zidane said: "The formation doesn't matter; the important thing is the attitude."

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Indeed. The numbers above show that the likes of Alvaro Morata, Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio are perhaps willing to work harder than the BBC, but it is also true that they have featured in some of the more straightforward fixtures such as the early rounds of the Copa del Rey. So, the stats are not conclusive.

Nevertheless, there is genuine concern among the supporters that the lack of intensity when Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo are all on the pitch could end up hurting Zidane's side in the latter stages of La Liga and also in the Champions League.

On Tuesday, all three are set to start - and the trident will have another chance to dispel the doubts and prove they are still the best option for Madrid's front line.