Tactical preview : Analyzing Real Madrid’s BBC and how they attack

The fans' favourite Real Madrid trio have wrecked havoc on many opponents.


The attacking trio at Real Madrid, popularly known as BBC, are a formidable attacking force, possibly one of the best trio’s ever assembled.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have so many variations in which they can score goals that the opposition can focus only on damage control and a clean sheet is very rare. But how exactly is it that they get their goals. BBC use a variety of ways to score their goals. All three members are excellent strikers of the ball and three of the best players in the world at the moment. They have the skill and talent to carry a team on their own and when played in unison, they wreck havoc on the opposition. But this blog is not about their individual talents but how they link up to score together as a unit.

The first and most obvious plan is to create space for the two wingers Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo by playing Benzema as a target man who holds up the ball before distributing it to the wings. By playing with his back to the goal, Benzema is able to draw attention of the central defenders towards himself, thereby creating space down the middle for both Cristiano and Bale.

With their speed, they are easily able to lose their markers and move into the space vacated by Benzema in the middle. Sometimes it can also be seen that Benzema moves out to the wings and Ronaldo or Bale move into a more central position, thereby creating confusion for the opposing defense. But since it is a strategy that is picked up by most teams these days, it does not always work with the defense switching to the other man and not giving up their position.

BBC use clever, fast short passes, flicks, one touch moves or back heels to pick each other out and when done right, it usually ends up in a scoring chance. But this is not the only way they get their goals.

With all three players exceptional finishers and good in the air, crosses are also widely used. All three are adept at swinging in perfect crosses, with Gareth Bale very, very good at it. Ronaldo has stopped doing so these days as he focuses more on playing near the goal. Crosses are very difficult to defend against when played properly, and more often than not it leads to a good scoring chance, with Ronaldo being one of the best headers the game has ever seen. With so much focus on him, it leads to second chance opportunities for the rest of the team.

BBC also score a lot of counter attacks. Real Madrid is known to have one of the best counter attacking teams, with Bale and Ronaldo among the fastest players with or without the ball at their feet. Defense is turned into attack in a split second, and even though Ronaldo has lost some of his pace, he is still fast enough to outrun most of his opponents. Having a good supply line in Modric and Kroos, BBC exploit the opposition whenever they press too high up or look to attack in numbers, as it leads to gaps at the back, which they can run into and at their speed, it is hard to catch up to them.

It is very often seen that Ronaldo drifts into the middle, plays a neat one-two with a teammate, goes around the defense leaving him either totally open in space or in a one on one situation with a defender, both of which are goal scoring opportunities for him. He only needs a millimeter of space to unleash goal bound efforts. Bale has also been drifting into the middle since last season, tirelessly running around and asking for more of the ball. He could be seen linking up with the midfield, or with Benzema and Ronaldo and move from one wing to the other to outsmart his defenders and create chances for himself. He is very good at finding his teammates in the right position and that makes it especially difficult to defend against him.

Another tactic frequently used is the age old cutting inside from the flanks. Both Ronaldo and Bale frequently cut in from the left and right flanks, losing their markers and unleashing powerful, accurate shots towards goal. Once they find space on the inside of the full backs, they have the option of either shooting, crossing or dribbling into the box. With so many options available to them, it is a nightmare to defend against. It usually takes the entire team to defend against the BBC when they are in full swing, and they are still favorites to score. With all the attention they grab, the players from midfield and the full backs always find space for themselves which leads to more scoring chances.

Another feature frequently seen is how they create space for each other by making diagonal runs, thereby taking away the man marking them and leaving the strikers in a one on one situation, and all three are dangerous whenever left in that position. With their individual talents and array of skills, it is a situation that they favor.

BBC are also the most dangerous combination when it comes to set pieces. Both Bale and Ronaldo are extremely good free kick takers and headers of the ball. Bale accounted for the most headed goals in La Liga last season, whereas Ronaldo has the highest leap of any footballer and is known to score of headers with alarming regularity.

All these combinations and different variations make it hard to stop them, and it is little wonder that they end up near the top of the goal scoring charts every season.


Photo by CDeahr23