Clubs, Real Madrid, Spanish Primera División, Story

The FC crew examine Zinedine Zidane’s decision to take Cristiano Ronaldo off at Levante, as Real Madrid went on to surrender the lead in a 2-2 draw.
Zinedine Zidane dismissed claims that Real Madrid are out of the title race after they dropped two points against Valencia leaving them 18 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Real Madrid were denied a win at Levante by a late equaliser from Giampolo Pazzini, who came off the bench to score on his debut for the hosts.

Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno has said he finds it “curious” that a team containing so many stars continues to drop points in La Liga.

Madrid drew 2-2 at struggling Levante on Saturday despite dominating possession and twice taking the lead.

TV pictures from late in the game showed club captain Sergio Ramos telling teammate Marcelo that “nobody sticks their foot in,” with Madrid having conceded 10 goals in their last six Liga games.

Zinedine Zidane’s defending champions are fourth in the table, 19 points behind Barcelona, and Butragueno told beIN SPORTS: “We had done the most difficult part, twice getting into the lead.

“Then in the final moments Levante came into it, they equalised, and we are going home unhappy.

“It is curious for the quality of the players we have. It is true we are finding it difficult to close out games and show on the scoreboard the domination we have on the pitch.”

Zidane substituted both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in an attempt to change things tactically, but Butragueno said the attackers were still the most likely players to make a difference.

“Obviously these are players who must break things open for us,” he said.

“We scored twice, but we still did not win. We must keep working to improve.”

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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