If Gareth Bale had any doubts about his future – if he was thinking of staying and fighting for his place under Zinedine Zidane – the answer has been clear.
The Real Madrid head coach once again let Bale on the bench in the 3-0 win against Athletic Club, and even when the Welshman does come on, he is whistled by supporters at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The only sign Bale has received is the club pointing him towards the exit door.
Marco Asensio is one of the few players who has taken Zidane’s casting call seriously. With Eden Hazard set to arrive at the Bernabeu in the summer, coupled with the supporters’ love for Vinicius Junior, it is essential that the Spaniard shows just what he is capable of ahead of next season.
The 23-year-old has had a disappointing campaign this year, but he has grown in confidence since the return of Zidane and he is convincing his coach that he can play a key role in the 2019/20 campaign.
It is important that Asensio continues to impress in the final five matches, as well as having a strong pre-season.
How far would Jesus Vallejo have gone at Real Madrid were it not for injuries?
The 22-year-old centre-back came into the starting line-up against Athletic Club, a difficult match as Los Blancos had nothing on the line whilst the Basques are chasing European football, yet Vallejo was exceptional in defence.
Given his age and potential, if Vallejo can stay fit and injury-free, he still has a chance to be a vital member of the Madrid squad, though the forthcoming arrival of Eder Militao will be added competition for the former Real Zaragoza captain.
Casemiro and Raul Garcia are both cut from the same cloth in the way that they are prepared to fight to the death for their sides.
For every 50:50 ball, it was the two of them together – battling.
Every controversial decision, too, they were once again seen together – arguing, with each player being in one of the referee’s ears. At times, it was like they were mirroring each other on the pitch.
Zidane said in the lead-up to Sunday’s match that this final stretch of the season is not affecting him, despite Madrid having the strange sensation of nothing to play for, but it is clearly having an influence in the attendances.
The turnout for Madrid matches this season has been notably low, and that trend continued against Athletic as less than 60,000 people turned up.
The supporters were left bored at half-time, but a Karim Benzema-inspired performance after the break saw Los Blancos run out 3-0 victors. Nevertheless, how are fans supposed to not think about signings when they are subjected to abject displays, like they saw in the first half?