Rodrygo defends Real Madrid's drop in form ahead of World Cup

Rodrygo insists no one at Real Madrid had one eye on World Cup while Los Blancos were still playing
Rodrygo insists no one at Real Madrid had one eye on World Cup while Los Blancos were still playing / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Real Madrid forward Rodrygo has admitted that Los Blancos suffered a drop in form after beating Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season in October, but insists it was not the result of the squad ‘relaxing’ with one eye on the 2022 World Cup.

Real dropped points in the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk and RB Leipzig either side of facing Barcelona, with a draw against Girona and defeat to Rayo Vallecano following in La Liga.

With club football now paused until after the World Cup, Real have slipped to second behind Barcelona in the Spanish standings, despite previously opening up a three-point lead.

“We started the season very well and we did not lose any games. But it is true that after Madrid-Barça we lowered the level that we had,” Rodrygo told AS.

“Nobody relaxed by Qatar. Madrid always comes out to win. Let no one think that anyone here lowers their guard or does not put their leg in,” the youngster stressed.

“It is true that a World Cup in November is something new. It can have an influence before the games, but when you're on the pitch you do give everything to win and you forget about the World Cup and everything.”

Rodrygo explained that the defeat to Rayo Vallecano ‘hurt us a lot’, conceding: “We were not up to it…that night in Vallecas we didn't play well. I think we could have been playing all night against Rayo and we wouldn't have won.

“All the rivals against Madrid play the game of their lives and against other rivals they don't play with that intensity. It is the greatness of Madrid and we assume it. We are used to that.”

However, Rodrygo was also critical of the officiating, and especially VAR, for seeming to let certain incidents go. It follows a recent report from Spain that Real are dismayed about what they see as a lack of protection for Vinicius Junior from alleged rough treatment.

“[Referees] allow everything,” he claimed. “I already said that what happened to me [against Cadiz] with Fali was a shame and that the VAR didn't say anything either. He looked at me and hit me, it was not an accident. I don't know what VAR is for. But we are [also] self-critical.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders & Toby Cudworth to look back on Korea/Japan '02 as part of the 'Our World Cups' series. We take a trip down memory lane - join us!