August 25, 2012
So, where do we start with that one?
The post-match analysis was all set to be oh-so easy at half-time. No goals, few chances, no heavy tackles and no eye gouging. Or at least not from what I saw. It was a Clasico that had struggled to get out of third gear. Understandable, perhaps, given it's the last trophy on the wanted list of both Jose Mourinho and Tito Vilanova this season.
Something clicked in the second half, though.
August 7, 2012
There may be a distinct lack of new arrivals at the Bernabeu so far this summer, but Madridistas can at least expect to see one fresh new face among Jose Mourinho's first team squad for the 2012-13 campaign.
July 17, 2012
The European Championships soaked up a lot of the summer and it gave me the time to sit back, take a deep breath, and relax - at least on the Madrid front.
The impending transfer madness that always greets a Real Madrid pre-season, the hectic summer friendly and tour schedule (when it is ever anything else when Los Blancos are concerned?) and the release of the summer fixtures made that 'rest and relaxation' a much-needed one. A calm before the inevitable white storm that will come my, *our*, way.
June 22, 2012
It'd be understandable for Madrid's La Liga-winning players to want to take a break, sit back, relax and perhaps have a few alcoholic beverages along the way this summer. The energy-sapping season they've just had was worth it, but to win La Liga, knocking Barcelona off top-spot, and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League must be draining - both in mind and in body. A refreshing, easy, summer break must have been the order of the day.
Enter Euro 2012. And no signs of tiredness. Just success, even more of it for those from the Bernabeu.
May 18, 2012
No pre-season at the Bernabeu is complete without rumour, speculation and big-money arrivals and departures - and it'll be no different this summer. One of those players who's set to take up most column inches in Marca and the like is Gonzalo Higuain - will he stay or will he go? Should he stay or should he go?
Indeed, talk over the Argentina striker's future is already in overdrive and the Liga season only finished barely a week ago. Juventus, Paris St Germain and Chelsea have all been linked with a swoop for 'El Pipita' this summer. I've been bombarded with Twitter messages asking to discuss the player's future in the Spanish capital, and I've been bombarded with Madridistas desperate for Pipita to stay.
May 14, 2012
"This team is already part of this club's legend. Its numbers will be impossible to forget and it has honoured our history." - Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
Los Blancos' 4-1 thrashing of Mallorca at the Bernabeu brought Madrid's successful La Liga season to an end in historic fashion. Three points, making Mourinho's men total 100 for the season - a new Spanish top-flight record. A win percentage of 87.72 per cent, if my maths serves me correctly.
Not just winning the league, doing it in record-breaking fashion. If Madrid's 2011-12 season had been a school report it'd have read - 'A - excellent. Some room for improvement in other subjects (see Champions League, Copa del Rey) but an impressive yearly improvement to see them go top of the class'.
May 3, 2012
¡Campeones! ¡Campeones! Olé! Olé! Olé!
Four years in waiting, four long years, but the Liga trophy is back at the Bernabeu for a 32nd time in Real Madrid's history. A 3-0 victory at San Mames, far from an easy place to go to clinch the title, was enough to make official what has been long in coming, with the exception of a few scares along the way this season.
Real Madrid are champions of Spain, Jose Mourinho has his fourth title in as many countries, and the Plaza de Cibeles will be the place to party tonight. Thousands upon thousands of Madridistas will descend on the city's famous monument, draped in all-white flags and scarves ready to celebrate with Madrid players and coaching staff, who'll appear to a chorus of celebratory songs on an open-top bus.
Let's just hope Sergio Ramos doesn't drop the trophy.
April 26, 2012
What a week. A famous victory at the Camp Nou, all-but sealing La Liga for Madrid on the home turf of their bitter rivals on the Saturday. Penalty shoot-out heartache at the Bernabeu in the semi-finals of the Champions League four days later. The ups and downs of football. The emotion. It's why we love the game.
After presenting my analysis from the weekend victory at Barca I'd hoped to be coming on here looking forward to a potential double, a potential trip to Bavaria to see what could have been billed as the most exciting Champions League final to date. A European Clasico. Barcelona against Madrid on arguably the biggest stage in world club football. Enter Chelsea. Enter Bayern. Exit Barca. Exit Madrid.
April 22, 2012
There were celebrations at the Cibeles late on Saturday night. Not quite en masse, not with an all-white open-top bus as its climax and not with the Liga trophy being presented to thousands upon thousands of Madridistas. A dress rehearsal for a full-on party in the Spanish capital at the famed Plaza de Cibeles in a few weeks? Probably.
Sami Khedira and Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madridistas reason enough to wave all-white flags from car windows and to gather in song at the Plaza famed for Madrid lifting trophies at the end of fruitful campaigns. A 2-1 victory at the Camp Nou - fully deserved, and stretching the gap at the top of the table to seven points with four games of the league season to go - meant Madridistas partied harder than usual on a Saturday night.
There were Cibeles celebrations last season when Madrid won the Copa del Rey, against Barcelona. It's been almost four years since Los Blancos have been able to do the same for a league title. That honour has fallen to Catalonia for the last three seasons but Madrid are, finally, on the cusp of wrestling back the honour of being Spain's top club.
April 20, 2012
Did you know there's an El Clasico this weekend?
Of course you did, and it's a pretty big one as it goes. When is a Clasico never a big one? Just the La Liga title pretty much riding on this one, just to add to that usual Barcelona-Real Madrid rivalry. Expect fireworks, expect Messi magic, expect hard challenges, expect brilliant football, expect touchline controversy, expect the unexpected.
Madrid lead Barca by four points at the top of the table going into Saturday night's massive clash at the Camp Nou. Victory for Pep and his boys is a must if they're to overhaul Los Blancos at the top of La Liga and stop Mourinho's men bagging a first title since 2008. For Madrid to avoid defeat would be a massive step towards the title, and there's where the problem lies. Shut up shop? All out defend? Or go for it? How does Jose approach arguably the most important Clasico match since taking charge at the Bernabeu?