Real Betis manager Quique Setién: how to beat Real Madrid

One of the coaches to have defeated Zidane’s side this season advises Liverpool to keep the ball and warns of Madrid’s ‘anarchy’

This Champions League final is a game that in theory should finish 4-4. It could be very entertaining for the fans, but perhaps not for the coaches. Real Madrid are a team who are a little anarchic. They don’t have a permanent shape: although they will play with four at the back and with Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the middle, the way they set up from there can change. Cristiano Ronaldo may be through the middle or wider and much depends on his role. If he and Karim Benzema play, it tends to be 4-4-2 but Gareth Bale could start, and/or Isco, Lucas Vázquez or Marco Asensio. All mean different things for the shape.

That anarchic nature is more a general point, though. Madrid’s players are carried along by the football itself, what they feel in each moment; they’re not guided by tactical rigour or a specific structure. What defines Madrid is their individual ability, how they associate with each other intuitively. Look at players like Benzema, who drifts to the wings and combines, or the full-backs, Marcelo and Dani Carvajal: when Carvajal goes up he doesn’t look to see if the other full-back is deep and that open approach often compromises them defensively.

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