March 23, 2011
Los Blancos continued their capital city domination on Saturday evening, maintaining their pace behind Barcelona and their faint title hopes. Atletico de Madrid have struggled against their neighbors, having not beaten Real Madird since 1999 and failing victim to Mourinho’s side four times this campaign. Atleti’s lackluster season aside, the rojiblancos have shown some brief spells of brilliance at the Vicente Calderon. With Madrid coming off an emotionally draining midweek Champions League fixture, the derbi madrileño could have very easily become a trap game; however, Madrid came out focused and took care of business. As we head into a short international hiatus, Madrid are still afloat in the league and in the final eight of Europe for the first time since 2002.
March 17, 2011
Through to the last eight; it has been a while since Real Madrid have been able to stake that claim in Europe’s top competition. Wednesday night, however, Madrid broke their six-year drought and overcame a Lyon side that had seen the Spanish giants off only a year before.
The first leg bore witness to a very inconsistent Madrid, but Los Blancos left little doubt at the Bernabeu, completely out playing their French opponents. The controversial Jose Mourinho continued his European success, advancing in a tournament in which many predecessors (in the last decade) had failed. A league victory against Hercules, combined with news from Sevillas' draw at the Sanchez Pizjuan had stolen two points from leaders Barcelona, have very quickly revitalized Madrid’s season in only a matter of days.
There is still a load of work to be done with Madrid still very far off from any sort of silverware; nevertheless, breaking a jinx and creeping closer to their Catalan rivals has optimism high in the Spanish Capital.
March 7, 2011
Sporting Gijon gave Real Madrid new life, stealing points from Barca, only to have Deportivo and their anti-football tactics take it away from the capital side a fortnight later. The dour draw, coupled with a Barcelona win, sent the holder’s seven points clear at the top yet again; however, since the disappointing result in Galicia, Karim Benzema and Madrid have seemingly rediscovered their potent goal scoring form. A seven goal route was Madrid’s response to Manuel Pelligrini’s return to the Bernabeu with the often maligned French striker’s double (in compliment to Ronaldo’s hat-trick) setting the table for an embarrassing return for the Chilean manager, who only a year early was at the helm for a record year at the Beranbeu. Unfortunately, Barcelona also set records, at just a better pace to win the league, leaving Los Blancos trophy-less. Sunday, the Frenchman’s double again powered Jose Mourinho’s side, earning the visitors a very crucial three points, faintly maintaining hope of a league title with Barcelona winning the day before.