Real Madrid have received the confidence boost they needed ahead of this weekend’s match against Atletico Madrid and should be extremely grateful to their benefactors from Kiev, who, it seems travelled all the way from the Ukraine just to make Real feel better about themselves.
The Madrid press, following last nights 5-1 thrashing of Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, have whipped themselves into a frenzy of fawning adulation for a team that only two weeks ago was the cause of untold shame and humiliation for the venerated fans at the Bernabeu. Today is a new day, however, and yesterdays chumps are today’s champs – well, according to AS anyway.
In the world of the Madrid sports papers all it took was 5 goals last night for the “Dark clouds to finally go away”. Oh yes, according to AS , last nights win means that “The kings of Europe are back!” and this team (the same team that AS reported had put in the worst European performance by Real Madrid that they had ever seen) are now talking about the “Decima”, the tenth Champions league Trophy for the club. According to AS it was “a night of Reconciliation for Real Madrid and the fans” and also a night of “Glory for Raul; what a night for the Captain!! Oh what a Captain!! What a night for Madrid!!.... Madrid are Back!!!!”.
And if that wasn’t enough, then AS really gets going when writing about the Captain, Raul – remember the same Raul who hasn’t scored a competitive goal for Real Madrid in 11 months, dropped by the national team and who had the same writers in AS asking what it would take for Madrid to do the same – “ Raul Lives!!! And now he has more spark than ever before…more than a decade ago. He’s brave and hungry for titles and once again he is the leader of Capello’s Madrid and has turned the Bernabeu into a gladiators Coliseum……My colleagues Tonin, Nino, Pascual, Agustin Santi, My dear Dad, my darling cousin and my little Marcos..Altogether now....A crown for Raul!! Raul the great of Spain, Pichichi of Europe!” Imagine if he’d scored a hat-trick.
Even Ronaldo gets in on the act following a sixteen minute cameo at the end of last nights win “The Bernabeu gave a footballing lesson to these anarchic and vulnerable Ukrainians. Ronaldo came down form the stands and joined in. The Bernabeu understands football. Ronaldo will lead us to our tenth Champions league trophy. More than 80,000 individuals embraced him from the stands and over ten million joined in the streets!! Bring on Atletico”. In case you were wondering the answer is ‘yes’, they do actually get paid to write that stuff.
In fact, the best bit of balance came form the mouth of Capello himself, when he said after the game “This team can and must improve in many areas," said the Italian.
"I think we made some defensive errors. They have a lot of quality and pace on the break and there were a few things I didn't like at the back."
He’s not wrong. Real were absolutely shocking at the back and their defence looked as if they had never met, let alone trained together. Cannavaro and Casillas, usually the most reliable, were at the heart of some calamitous and comedic errors and mis-understandings and Real Madrid were very fortunate not to have conceded more than the single goal. In fact, Real were also incredibly lucky to have scored more than one goal themselves and owe more to Kiev’s ineptitude in defence than they do to any cohesion or cutting edge in attack. It must be a worry that this Real Madrid team bore none of the attributes of a Capello side.
Real Madrid should take confidence from the match ahead of their game against rivals Atletico. They should not, however, go anywhere near a copy of AS or Marca before the match and would be wise to heed the words of Capello in training this week : “We let them have too many chances and not all our opponents will be so generous to us” . Fernando Torres awaits.