February 24, 2012
The Spanish capital really is the place to be on Sunday for La Liga. A Madrid derby between in-form Rayo and Los Blancos is followed by a tasty affair between Atletico and Barcelona. Two fascinating fixtures all within a few miles, and hours, of each other.
I'll be honest and say I have a soft spot for Rayo. The last time I was in Madrid I had the pleasure of taking in a game when they played Espanyol (Espanyol left with a 1-0 win in a pretty poor game). Luckily, Rayo always seem to play at home the same weekend as Madrid so far this season, so anyone contemplating a trip to watch Mourinho's men should also think about a trip to Rayo, if the two games don't clash, of course.
It should be three points for Los Blancos but Rayo, whose financial problems meant they were only expected to last for one season in the Primera Division before making a swift return to the Segunda, go into the game in good form and, as things stand, ready to play in the top flight again next season.
February 17, 2012
You just know the La Liga title race is a foregone conclusion when the Spanish press start talking about records.
With Madrid now ten points clear of second-placed Barcelona, much of the focus in the Spanish-based media has not been on whether or not Los Blancos will win the title this season, but whether they can do it in record-breaking style.
Their form says they can. Barca's 99 points in 2010 was the best-ever points return from La Liga and, if Madrid continue hauling points in as they have been doing over the last few months, there's no reason that can't be broken.
February 10, 2012
Constant rumour and speculation is par for the course when it comes to Real Madrid. Whether Los Blancos have a settled side winning week-in, week-out, or whether they have a side struggling for improvement, not a day goes by without players being linked with a move to, or away from, the Santiago Bernabeu.
It's usually why I steer clear of the majority and take the rumours with a pinch of salt as do, I suspect, the majority of Madridistas. Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Esteban Granero are amongst the names making the headlines with possible moves away from the Spanish capital this season. Players such as Neymar, Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez are amongst those being mentioned with a move in the other direction.
Two rumours have caught my attention this week, however, and compelled me to mention them in this week's blog. Arsenal striker Robin van Persie's possible move to the Bernabeu - and Madrid manager Jose Mourinho's possible move away.
February 3, 2012
Seven points. Seven massive points. With the way Barca has dominated La Liga in recent seasons it'd be foolish to say the title is returning to the Bernabeu just yet - but it's a very good bet.
My last post focused on Madrid's impressive performance at the Camp Nou in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final, even though Pep's boys progressed to a semi-final date with Valencia. It focused on the mental strength of Madrid in Catalonia that night. The strength Los Blancos showed despite dominating the first-half and somehow finding themselves 2-0 down. The strength to continue playing well, not letting their heads drop, and coming away unbeaten.
That mental strength seems to be winning the way for Madrid at the moment, and it's having a negative impact on Barca - as shown with three draws on the spin.