It was vitally important that Real Madrid made a fast start to 2019 as they try to catch Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
But the gap between the two sides has been extended, sitting at 10 points now after Real Madrid failed to win their opening two matches of the new calendar year.
They drew against Villarreal despite leading 2-1 with 10 minutes to go and were beaten 2-0 by Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Now, Real Madrid’s focus isn’t on catching up to Barcelona but making sure that they can finish in the top four places.
Sunday’s defeat to Real Sociedad wasn’t without its controversy. In the second half, and with the visitors leading 1-0, the referee failed to consult VAR when Vinicius Jr. was felled inside the penalty area.
It certainly looked like an incident that warranted a second look.
“The one on Vinicius is scandalous,” Sergio Ramos complained at full-time, per AS. “I’ve always supported VAR, but this leaves you with your head in your hands.”
Real Madrid's outrage with VAR
Real Madrid have a genuine problem with VAR and they’ve now started a campaign against it.
The club’s TV channel, Real Madrid Television, have released footage showing the reaction from Munuera Montero, the VAR for their 3-0 defeat to Eibar in November, ‘celebrating’ Eibar’s opening goal.
The goal, scored by Escalante, was reviewed by VAR for a possible offside but was eventually allowed.
In the footage, Montero can be seen high-fiving the officials in the booth. According to AS, Real Madrid TV claim this behaviour is ‘anti-Real Madrid’.
“The possibility that it was simply officials congratulating themselves on doing their job well was not considered,” AS add.
The goal in question
Interestingly enough, Montero was also the referee for Real Madrid’s defeat on Sunday.
After failing to use VAR after the Vinicius moment, it’s easy to see why Los Blancos are upset.