To be honest I am surprised that Real Madrid are currently only the third favourites to lift the Champions League trophy once again this season, with Barcelona first favourites and Bayern Munich second. So even though our Wales international star Gareth Bale is still not fit enough to feature for Los Blancos, I think that we must be a good bet to be crowned champions of Europe once more.
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Last season saw Real Madrid need a fantastic late run of results in La Liga just to get close to the eventual title winners Barcelona and put pressure on their fierce rivals, but this time the football boot has been on the other foot so to speak.
This season it has been the turn of Zinedine Zidane and the Real Madrid players to start quickly and race to the top of the Spanish table, while Luis Enrique and Barca endured a terrible start and have struggled to keep in touch. Our other main rivals Atletico Madrid have fared even worse and are currently six points behind us down in fourth place.
Real Madrid hold a two-point lead over Barcelona in the La Liga title race after two months of the campaign in their bid to win the Spanish top-flight crown for the first time in five seasons. Los Blancos have been thwarted by the Catalan club and bitter rivals Atletico Madrid in their bid for the major domestic honour, despite their success in the Champions League.
Well that was a pretty short lived ‘crisis’ for Real Madrid wasn’t it? It just shows you, though, what great pressure there is on the manager and players of this great club, with the football media so willing to talk about a crisis just because Los Blancos drew a few games, even after Zinedine Zidane had steered Madrid to a record run of La Liga wins and another Champions League trophy.
Real Madrid did get this season’s Champions League campaign off to a winning start against the Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon this week, but it was a far from convincing performance that left all the pre-match talk about Los Blancos looking like a good bet to become the first club top retain the European Cup in the4 UCL era look a bit shaky.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the inspiration for the late turnaround and you can never give up hope when CR7 is on the pitch, but he has not been scoring free kicks too often of late and on another day and with another referee he would not even have had the chance after what looked like minimal contact from the Sporting player.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a quiet start to Euro 2016, but reminded everyone how clinical he can be with two crucial strikes against Hungary to fire Portugal into the last-16. His Welsh counterpart, Gareth Bale has been smashing in a goal a game so far to keep the pressure on Ronaldo. It could be a case of which team goes deeper into the competition, as to which player has the best chance to claim the golden boot.
Once again the mighty Real Madrid have ended the season by being crowned the champions of Europe, making it an amazing and untouchable record of lifting the European cup 11 times. So after a difficult season which looked for a long time that it would end without us winning a thing, everyone concerned with Real Madrid will be feeling a lot happier now than we did a few months ago.
Gaelic connection: Bale and Zidane key to new era of Real Madrid dominanceZinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side embark on a 2015/16 Champions League final that could propel them into yet another era of footballing dominance not seen since the Frenchman himself was playing for the club.
After the glittering Pep Guardiola years of the late Noughties followed by the ‘MSN resurgence’ which saw them win last year’s Champions League final, Madrid’s rivals, Barcelona, have held the Spanish bragging rights for much of the 21st century.
Just one game to go for Real Madrid this season and it is certainly a big one and hopefully the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on Saturday ends in the same result as we got two years ago. It would be nice for the nerves of anyone concerned with Los Blancos, however, if this Real Madrid side did not leave it as late as the last one.
But when the dust has settled on this huge European game, Real Madrid thoughts will turn to Euro 2016 and our preparations for next season and the summer tournament could have a significant effect on those preparations, for a number of reasons.
Things really have taken an upward turn for Real Madrid and the chances of major trophy success this season ever since the top brass at the Santiago Bernabeu decided to call it a day on the previous manager Rafa Benitez and replace the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss with the former Real Madrid and France star Zinedine Zidane.