On 9th May Real Madrid played Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in the La Liga. They lost to their local rivals due to a Yannick Carrasco penalty. However, when the camera panned towards the away side’s bench, spectators could see Karim Benzema and his fellow stars having a laugh, and seeming relaxed.
One would not expect such behaviour or mannerisms from players during a local derby, particularly one involving rivals who are often also involved in the title race. However, for this season the title race has been settled, with Real Madrid winning their 35th La Liga title.
Having achieved their domestic objective the players seem to be more relaxed and enjoying their remaining matches, no longer having to stress about losing out on the first position. With an eye on the Champions League final, Ancelotti rotated the team, with many star players not making the first team lineup.
Even the club’s fans seem to agree with this sentiment. Often more than the players it is the club’s fans who are competitive and amped up about derbies. But having seen their team win the league title already, most fans saw the match as a throwaway game. Many of them joined in on the joke, viewing the situation lightly.
When fans of other clubs tried to criticise the players’ behaviours or make fun of the loss, Real Madrid fans were quick to come to their players’ defence. Some fans lauded the B team’s effort, praising the players for putting up a performance, despite not seeing many minutes throughout the season.
The players pictured laughing on the bench have largely contributed to their team’s success this season. Karim Benzema has been the star man. His 50+ goal contributions have been important in Madrid’s journey to winning the title and reaching the Champions League final.
Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao have prevented goals by making important tackles and saves. Casemiro has let barely anything pass through him and trouble his defence, even if it means fouling an opposition player if needed. So with the league settled, and the CL final a few weeks away, the players can take a breather and enjoy the moment.