The front page of AS said it all this morning after Real Madrid’s demolition of Valladolid at the Bernabeu: ‘Seven goals and eight points’.
Following Barcelona’s 1-1 draw at Sevilla on Saturday, Madrid seized the initiative to stake a claim on this seasons La Liga title. The eight point lead that Real hold over their rivals may be mathematically surmountable, but in practical terms it represents a chasm – such is the contrast between Madrid and Barcelona’s respective displays of commitment in to the race for the championship.
It is a difference in ambition that separates the two sides: Madrid simply look as if they want to win this title so much more than Barcelona. Contrast the two teams; Barcelona continue to look like the side that failed to keep hold of the title when time and again they squandered the opportunity to secure it for themselves last season. Madrid, on the other hand, continue to show the kind of hunger that saw them overtake their rivals to seize the title from them last season.
If Barcelona never seem to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, then last nights 7-0 hammering of Valladolid shows exactly why Madrid will seize every opportunity with both hands.
With their rivals watching and waiting to see if they would slip up, Madrid charged out of the blocks and nothing, least of all poor Valladolid, was going to get in their way. By half time Madrid led the game at 5-0 following some clinical finishing that was perhaps a little harsh on the visitors.
Baptista opened Madrid’s account in the eighth minute, followed by two more from Raul and one apiece for Guti and Robben – Yes Arjen Robben, he does exist. Second half goals from Guti and Drenthe heaped the misery upon Medilibar who described the result as like ‘being hit with a very big stick’. His side now sit in 13th place, three points above the relegation zone.
Man of the match: Guti. A masterful performance full of incisive passing and movement, at the heart of Madrid’s play, with two goals to round it all off. Descibed by Marca as ‘Guti the Superstar’.