Managers and coaches are known to put a lot of emphasis on how their sides approach the initial stages of a game.
Aside from setting the tempo and pace, a solid approach early on can effectively influence the rest of the 90.
Aggressive pressing or dominating possession from the go are ways of lowering opposition morale, and it all begins with the kickoff routine itself.
Teams like Liverpool often pass back before hoofing it upfield, which sends a clear message of ‘bring it on’ to the opposition.
In contrast, Manchester City usually looks to assert their dominance early on, as they control proceedings from the moment the whistle rings.
Kickoff routines vary from team to team but usually boil down to ball retention, quick breakaways or punts up the field.
However, European champions Real Madrid have recently been experimenting with the way they kick things off.
Typically, the Merengues would pass back to Toni Kroos, who would then execute a precise pass up to the pitch, or switch the play through a fullback.
Against RB Leipzig, Real displayed a new kickoff routine, one which personifies ‘starting on the front foot.’
After an uninspired showing in the first 45, the home side were undoubtedly eager to start things right during the second half.
And they did so from the kickoff itself, led by their Brazilian duo of Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr.
Right as the whistle rang, Vinicius rolled the ball forward and into the path of his Brazilian compatriot.
The two Brazilians charge forward, alongside a number of their teammates.
Their sudden charge clearly startled Leipzig momentarily, as they were clearly preparing to press instead of defending.
After receiving the ball, Rodrygo nutmegged his opposite marker before being fouled.
The move got the crowd roaring and immediately put Real on the front foot, and they rode that momentum to a 2-0 win.
It’s a shame that the routine was brought down by a foul, as the intent really deserved a better reward.
Hopefully, we see more teams be as inventive as the Real Madrid duo with kickoffs.