— Liga BBVA English (@LigaBBVA_ENG) December 8, 2011
On Tuesday we will finally find out who is the winner of “The Battle of Spain”. After almost three weeks of waiting and watching some passionate soccer, and everything around it, the World will sleep again. Well, for the most, the battle is already over. Indeed, it doesn’t look good for Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and team mates. While at the beginning of the series Real did well, the win of the Copa del Rey could now turn into “the win of the golden pineapple”.
What happened? The momentum, after the Copa del Rey final on Real’s side, has shifted. After Barca’s win in the first leg at Real, just a few believe Real still has a chance. Even “the special one”, Jose Mourinho, admitted that it looks impossible to turn this around. Moral is miserable, as the last league game on Saturday showed. Real losing at home against Zaragoza. Not that Barca did any better, they lost their league game as well, but they can afford it with an eight point lead. Plus, they played after Real already lost, so it is easy for them to excuse themselves for the loss. Conserve power for the second leg is a good excuse in this case.
A lot happened over the past three weeks. The two clubs really brushed each other up, on the field, as well as off the field. So much, that the Spanish national coach, del Bosque, complained about all the El Clasico’s. He is afraid that the outcome and all the fights on and off the field will impair moral in the Spanish national team. It might. Some of the fight’s on the field were so full of passion, that it is hard to believe that these players can be best friends again comes Wednesday morning.
Writing off Real? I warn from doing so. Can you imagine that Cristiano Ronaldo scores two or even three goals in one game? I can, it wouldn’t be the first time. I can also imagine that Iker Casillas has an amazing game and drives Lionel Messi & Co. crazy. Yes, no Sergio Ramos, no Pepe. Khedira is injured and out as well. Almost the entire defense is out for this important game. Well, there are still a few guys that can mix some concrete there, in the Real defense. Albiol and Carvalho for example might be nice guys off the field, on the field you need to get around them first. Besides that, can you imagine being a “bench player” and now coming in into such an important game? What better motivation do you need? If that doesn’t make you fight with the knife between the teeth, what will? I don’t think this competition is over for Real. I know, it is not for Mourinho and he will find a way to motivate his players, if that is even needed.
I am a firm believer in Jose Mourinho. A lot of people in soccer don’t like him, and I do think that he sometimes does ridiculous things, but he has the ability to get into opponents heads. He already, in public, declared that it is next to impossible to turn this around, but that is just a way to cover for what already everyone believes. He lost at home, he is missing important players, he can’t sit on the bench, the game is at Barca, nothing speaks for Real. However, I do not believe for a second that Mourinho is giving up. He will pull a rabbit out of his hat, at least he is trying.