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.
So here we are at another El Clasico contest between Real Madrid and Barcelona to decide who lifts the Copa Del Rey in 2014. After their recent problems, this is probably more important to the Catalan club because it looks like their best chance of getting their hands on a trophy this season, but Carlo Ancelotti and his players are determined to stop that happening.
The bad news for Real Madrid is that our best player, Cristiano Ronaldo, has not recovered from the injury he picked up a couple of weeks ago against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League first leg. The second leg showed just how much Madrid can struggle without the Portuguese superstar, although this weekend’s La Liga win showed that we have plenty of quality throughout the side.
There have been stories circulating in the Spanish press that all is not exactly rosy in the Real Madrid dressing room. The trouble apparently flared after the disappointing and damaging derby defeat by Barcelona on Sunday and if it does not get sorted out soon then it could affect the team’s focus for the crucial final nine games of this La Liga season.
Carlo Ancelotti must have been dismayed to see that two of his most important Real Madrid players, Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo, had gone into meltdown after Sunday’s El Clasic defeat to Barcelona. The Italian manager is probably expecting both players to receive some sort of reprimand for accusing the referee of cheating and with every La Liga game now crucial, Ancelotti must be dreading that they will be punished with a ban.
As if Real Madrid losing El Clasico to Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu was not bad enough, Carlo Ancelotti and his team could be set for even further punishment. The refereeing technical committee, called the RFEF in Spain, is looking in to statements made by Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, as an AS report explains, in the wake of the disappointing defeat and I cannot see any outcome other than both players being given bans.
Just when Real Madrid looked like taking control of La Liga, following shock defeats for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, last weekend’s results went a bit wrong. Barcelona won and are now just a point behind Real, but Carlo Ancelotti’s men are still favourites for the title for a number of reasons.
If you are looking to put your money on them, it would be a good time and, I think, a good move. There are widely differing odds available so it is worth checking around and finding which the best are, according to a comparison and review site like SportsBettingDime.com. But anything around evens is a great price because Real Madrid are in great form and getting better, while the two rivals are stuttering.
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.
Real Madrid will host lowly Elche at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the result is not as straighforward as you would think. For one thing, Carlo Ancelotti has had his preparations for today’s game disrupted by a baffling decision by the panel set up to make rulings on all sorts of disciplinary cases.
The Italian manager had expected them to decide this morning that the three match ban given to Ronaldo for the slightest of touches on the captain of Bilbao a couple of weeks ago was too harsh. So Ancelotti had prepared for the game with Ronaldo in the team, but the three game ban was upheld.
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.