Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Madrid Win the League, Destroy What's Left of Barcelona and Relegate Zaragoza

It has been a very strong finish to the season for Real Madrid. They’ve won their last three games and oh yeah also happened to win La Liga for the second consecutive season. They won the league in very dramatic fashion, reminiscent of last year’s unbelievable finish which saw Real Madrid winning the league on the last game of the year (which I had the fortune to see in person at the Bernabeu). I plan on writing a more in depth year in review for Real Madrid after the season officially ends where I’ll really touch on the championship aspect of their season but for now I’ll just focus on the last three games.

The league winning game against Osasuna was a good representation of Real Madrid’s season. At times the play was beautiful, at others it was awful but it was always loaded with heart. When things looked dire, they came together and won a match that they deserved to win. You could see how truly excited the players were when Higuain scored the winner and it was nice to see the whole team celebrate.

After that win, the team was still euphoric and it showed against Barcelona. One really couldn’t find two more different teams on that day. Madrid looked confident and happy, Barcelona looked uninterested and slightly afraid. By the end of the game I honestly felt bad for Barcelona. I really do hope that day clean house and come back strong next year because things in Spain are so much more interesting when they are as strong as they have been in the past. I would never root for Barcelona but there’s no doubt that they bring out the best in Real Madrid.

The most recent game against Zaragoza was a very interesting one for me personally because secretly, I kinda hoped Zaragoza would pull it out against Real Madrid. Having gone to Zaragoza’s stadium last year to watch them play Real Madrid, I could sense the pride and strong support they had from their fans and it is always sad to see a team get relegated. Madrid had absolutely nothing to play for and to their credit they played a good game that was very entertaining.

For me, aside from winning the league, one thing that stood out from all these games was the fact that finally most of the squad is healthy. I realize some players were out of the Zaragoza game due to injury, but there were no long term injuries to be found amongst the players. It was especially nice to see Ruud Van Nistelroy and Christoph Metzelder back and playing well.

Arjen Robben continues to impress with his great play out wide. He has literally began to take serious playing time away from Robinho, which I personally don’t like as I would like to see the two of them out there at the same time, but it is a testament to how well Robben is playing at the moment. Let’s hope he can come back healthy from the Euros this summer. Another player that has come into his own of late is Marcelo. What a terrific attacking left back he is becoming. He was just sensational against Zaragoza and I expect big things from him in the future.

Now that the season is basically over, everyone’s focus will turn to next year. Who will stay? Who will go? It seems like Madrid are keen on only signing a few players and trying to keep this core together for next year. I must say that they are doing this exactly right. A few of the players being linked right now are very exciting (David Villa, Ricardo Quaresma, Klass Huntelaar) and others are just unrealistic and need to be put to rest (Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas) but for now we’ll just have to wait and see. Once the dust settles and the euphoria from winning the league dies down, I’m sure the transfer window will become as exciting as the season was.


J.C.V. said...

i hope you start writing again, ;)

when you do so, let me know and we can exchange links...


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