Winning the Champions League may have come as no surprise behind the doors at Real Madrid, but there is every possibility that their 10th major European title may be the beginning of a new chapter for Los Blancos. Possessing arguably the strongest squad in world football provides Carlo Ancelotti to bring more success to the Santiago Bernabau, yet there are old scores to be settled during the upcoming season.
Archive for the ‘Champions League News’
It is no great secret that the priority for Real Madrid, the fans, the players and the whole club, is to finally win that historic 10th European cup. But while the Champions League is the glamour trophy, Real Madrid also feel that they should be champions of Spain.
With Barcelona having a torrid season after an early start, that would normally have been wrapped up, but Atletico have really blown the two team dominance apart. But Real Madrid kept up the pressure on their city rivals with a good win over Osasuna.
That historic and record breaking 10th Champions League victory has been on the minds of Real Madrid for 12 years now, ever since Zinedine Zidane scored that peach of a volley to give Madrid the trophy in 2002. The pressure has been cranked up on every Madrid manager since, but despite regularly getting to the latter stages, `La Decima` has evaded them all.
After a shaky start to the season, Real Madrid are hitting top gear and looking very good. Carlo Ancelotti seems to have got a great atmosphere going in the dressing room and, after a fair bit of tinkering with team selection and formation, the Italian seems to have settled into a more regular system for Madrid.
It is paying off handsomely, with a place in the Copa Del Rey final already assured. The weekend then saw Barcelona and Atletico fail to keep up with Real and means Los Blancos have taken a three point lead at the top of La Liga. Of course, a domestic double would be fantastic and would eclipse any of the seasons under Jose Mourinho, but what everyone at the club really wants is another Champions League triumph.
Ever since Karim Benzema moved to Real Madrid from Lyon in the summer of 2009, he has had to share the central striking duties with Gonzalo Higuain. Until this season, that is, when Carlo Ancelotti decided it had to be one or the other to get the best from them.
For a while in the early stages of the season, the manager seemed to have made a big mistake, as the French striker struggled for goals, form and confidence, but all three are flowing now. Maybe the court case was preying on his mind or he just needed to get used to being the main man, but he is certainly producing the goods now.
It remains to be seen, of course, if Real Madrid will win any trophies in their first season under Carlo Ancelotti, but it certainly seems like a much happier and more relaxed club. After the strain, tension and discord that characterised the reign of Jose Mourinho, the fans, players and media are all mightily relieved about that.
Mourinho seems to have embarked on another spell of rabble rousing back in England, getting into spiteful arguments with rival managers, players, officials and anyone who crosses his path, but Ancelotti is almost the opposite. A lot of players liked Mourinho because he was so determined to win, but it came at a price.
After Real Madrid won the second leg of their Copa Del Rey fixture against Espanyol on Tuesday, they became the first team to book their place in the semi-finals of the Spanish cup competition. And after last year’s final loss to city rivals Atletico Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti and his team must have been hoping for a favour from Athletic Bilbao.
They almost got it as well. It was looking good at halftime after Aduriz had scored to make the aggregate scores level, but second half goals from Raul Garcia and Diego Costa set up a repeat of last years final. It will be a two-legged affair, with the first one to take place at the Santiago Bernabeu next week and the second leg at the Vicente Calderon the following week.
The case of Alvaro Morata and Real Madrid is a curious one and it has taken a few twists in the past year or so. And there could be another one coming soon, with rumours that manager Carlo Ancelotti and the club are ready to siften their stance on the promising young striker and let him leave the Santiago Bernabeu during this January transfer window.
When Jose Mourinho was getting grief from the media and fans alike last season about his failure to use promising youngsters, Morata was just about the only one he seemed to like and the young striker rewarded his faith with two massive goals coming on as a late sub.
I know it sounds petty to say it, because even when he is not playing at 100 percent he is still Real Madrid’s best player, but Cristiano Ronaldo has just been a little off the ball recently. Just four goals in the last 11 games for Madrid, compared to the 26 he scored in the previous games shows what I mean.
Unlike his usual self, Ronaldo has not been ruthless in front of goal, missing a few chances that would normally guarantee a goal, but I think he has just been a bit distracted by the impending Ballon D’Or awards. It would have been a travesty if he had not won it this year and thankfully he did receive it yesterday, with Messi second and Ribery third. Congratulations CR7, you deserve it!!
There is not really any such thing as an easy game in the last 16 of the Champions League, but Real Madrid players, fans and manager will be quite pleased to have drawn the German Bundesliga club Schalke for the knockout games due to be played in February.
It could have been a lot worse and it could have been a little better. Zenit St. Petersburg or Olympiakos would probably have been the choice, but Madrid did very well to avoid Arsenal, Man City or AC Milan. Even better news is that Barcelona were drawn with Man City and Bayern were drawn with Arsenal, so two very strong sides will be going out.