Real Madrid need a miracle to win La Liga
Real Madrid, last seasons Liga BBVA champions, return from the traditional winter break finding themselves sixteen points off the pace of league leaders, Barcelona. Can they claw it back in the second half of the season? Honestly, I can’t see it.
Firstly: how on earth has this happened? Real Madrid and Barcelona should be neck and neck. The only two teams in Spain with quality players in every department. City rivals Atletico Madrid are occupying second place, seven points ahead of Real Madrid. Shocking, considering the gulf in class of players.
One man is responsible for Atletico’s impressive form throughout this season: Radamel Falcao. Racking himself seventeen goals already in the league at this stage of the season is very impressive. Despite this, and without disrespecting Atletico’s achievements this season, Real Madrid should be ahead of them, if not fighting for their lives to retain the title. This is not the case. Real Madrid have only collected a disappointing thirty-three points so far this season. Evidently, they have not come close to matching the heights of last season, leaving many people bewildered and curious as to why.
Off-field distractions can play an important part in disrupting a team’s season and the reason behind a team’s poor performance. This has been agreed on by many, that it is the case currently at Madrid.
José Mourinho has not held back on criticizing his players within the public eye after some below-par performances; most notably after the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Celta Vigo.
“There are players who have disappointed me,” claimed the outraged Mourinho.
“(Some) didn’t want to play because it was cold, raining and (only) a Copa match.”
Understandably, Mourinho is entitled to feel angered by his team performance in this match. The performance was simply not up to scratch. They had just been beaten in the first leg against a newly promoted team. Embarrassing.
Uncertainty surrounding the future of Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Mesut Özil could also be what is costing Madrid dearly. With Ronaldo in an apparent contract dispute with the club, team mates, fans and the board have every right to be concerned. Their star man could be leaving the club. Yes, they would receive a hefty sum, but can Ronaldo be replaced easily? No, not at all.
The board are apparently losing patience with Mourinho, too, which can only distract the players as well. Is Mourinho feeling the heat? Is the self proclaimed ‘Special One’ feeling the pressure? Surely, he can’t be?. Understandably with Real’s current standing in the league, the owners and board are entitled to lose their patience but they should know it is not all his fault. All managers get their tactics wrong, even the greats, managers like Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Mourinho and Guus Hiddink have done. Mourinho should not be fronting all the blame, though. Like he has said, players have let him down this season. Luka Modric, signed for £33 million has failed to live up to expectations since his arrival in the summer from Tottenham.
Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t been able to get any consistent rhythm going this season; only managing fourteen goals. By his standards, its an alarming dip in form.
Playing catch-up in the second half of the season is not beneficial for any team. Especially when the team you are trailing is Barcelona. With the Catalans undefeated this season in the league, winning sixteen of the seventeen games played so far. The other being a draw, they do not look like they will be dropping points any time soon. In all honesty, I think Madrid’s title hopes are dashed. They need a miracle. Everyone associated with Real Madrid will be hoping that Barcelona go onto to play abysmally. Will it happen? No, never in a million years. This Barcelona side is as strong as ever playing magnificent football. Madrid still have a battle on their hands in order to finish in second place, as Atletico Madrid are no pushovers. A seven point gap is between the pair, so it is by no means impossible for Madrid to rectify their mistakes.
For Real Madrid to improve their form this season, a few aspects need to be addressed:
1. Improving their away form: Real Madrid’s away form in the league is strongly at fault for their slump this season. Winning just four of those games and losing an equal amount, it should be a primary concern for Mourinho. Having scored seventeen goals on the road and conceding twelve; this form needs to improving significantly for Mourinho and his men to achieve anything this season.
2. Give Ronaldo more support: Cristiano Ronaldo surely cannot be pleased with his current goal tally. Having scored a lowly fourteen has left many shocked and disappointed. Ultimately, Ronaldo is simply not challenging Messi enough to claim the prestigious award of Ballon d’Or. His fellow team mates rely on him far too much. Obviously, a player of his calibre can drag his team from the depths of despair, but it is unfair to expect him to do it frequently. To solve this ongoing issue, Madrid need to either invest on more attacking talent or train others to to be able to help him out, more than what they are currently doing.
3. Re-evaluate the squad as a whole: The most important thing for Madrid to do. Simply find who is letting the team down. Solving this issue by either moving the player on or giving them a period of time on the bench can soon alter this issue. Players like Luka Modric, Micheal Essien, Gonzalo Higuaín and Kaká all need to up their game or face the bullet. Its that simple. Real Madrid are one of Europe’s giants and cannot afford to be held back by certain players.
Personally, I feel that all title’s hopes have been dashed due to a poor first half of the season. They can still turn their form around in the Copa Del Rey, which if they were to go on and win it, they still have a trophy to their name. Real Madrid are still in the Champions League and face Manchester United in the next round. Really, Madrid should win that game over two legs, but they know that it will not be easy. Even though I think Madrid will not mount a title charge, I do feel they will pick up more form as the season goes on and finish in second place.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments section below?