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.
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.
The game this weekend was causing a certain amount of concern for Real Madrid and their fans. Despite it being a home game, the visit of an in-form Villareal and the absence of star man Cristiano Ronaldo made it look like it was going to be a tough one, but Garteh Bale was back from injury and the Welshman inspired his team mates to a vital victory which moves Real Madrid to the top of La Liga.
Real Madrid is a team packed full of world class talent. Involved in a three-way battle for top spot in La Liga with arch rivals Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, they will be hoping that those world class players can fire them to the title. They are also the most successful club of all time in the UEFA Champions’ League or European Cup equivalent, with nine trophies. If they wish to win the competition and the magical ‘tenth’ trophy this season, then they will need more than just everybody playing well.
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.
It was almost the perfect La Liga weekend for Carlo Ancelotti and his Real Madrid team. With Los Blancos playing on Saturday, the opportunity was there to put pressure on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, as the two league leaders were not in action until Sunday.
Ancelotti’s men certainly did their bit against bottom club Real Betis. Ronaldo took just 12 minutes to open the scoring and it never looked like anything other than a comfortable win. Gareth Bale put concerns over his form firmly behind him with a good performance capped by a fantastic free-kick goal.
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.
The transfer of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid was one of the worst kept secrets but also longest running transfer sagas of the summer. It gave people lots of time to discuss it before it happened and there was a lot of doubt about whether Bale and Ronaldo would work well together on the pitch for Real Madrid.
After a disappointing and frustrating start to the season for Real Madrid fans, things are really starting to look up, while the biggest rivals Barcelona started well but are starting to show cracks in their veneer, making this season’s race to be champions of Spain shape up to be much close than last year.
We cannot forget about Diego Simeone’s Atletico side either, as they are doing really well and are level on points at the top with Barcelona. But because Madrid play before the other two and are just three points behind, they can go into top spot with a victory by three goals or more away to Osasuna. That would really put some pressure on the wobbling Barcelona who are still without Messi until the new year.
Cristiano Ronaldo and everyone concerned with Real Madrid must have been rubbing their hands in the last few weeks, but an injury picked up by the Portugal international star could really throw a spanner in the works for both club and player, although hopefully it will only be a short term problem.