It has been a rather good week for Real Madrid. They now lead La Liga by three points, following rare slip-ups from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid on the weekend. Their path to the Champions League quarter-finals is all but ensured, following an emphatic 6-1 rout in Gelsenkirchen against Schalke 04. And on top of that, the talismanic Crisitano Ronaldo has returned to the side following suspension in the same, blistering form that he has been showing all season.
But the question is this. How much can Madrid achieve this season? Their advantage in the league is slight, but their remaining matches against Barcelona and Atletico will be crucial in determining who is crowned champions. If Madrid can negotiate those two fixtures and the Copa del Rey final against their fierce rivals, then a treble is definitely on the cards.
The hardest task, as ever, is winning Europe’s elite competition, something that has eluded the Spanish giants for 12 years. Back then, the Galacticos of Zidane, Figo and Roberto Carlos helped Madrid to their ninth European triumph. Now it falls on the shoulders of their new collection of Galacticos: Ronaldo, Bale and Modric to name but a few. Fortunately for Madrid fans, the team has been playing some breathtaking football, scoring marvellous goals and exciting fans all over the world. The players work hard for each other, oozing confidence and really seeming to enjoy playing with one another.
To win the Champions League you need strength in depth and belief. Real Madrid has these features in abundance. Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso have performed brilliantly for a number of seasons, giving great stability to the spine of the team. And it is a testament to the depth of their squad that Iker Casillas, one of the greatest goalkeeper of all time, has been struggling to cement a place in the first team. But Ronaldo is the man that could decide it all. His talent and phenomenal record this season could propel Madrid to the European triumph that they so desperately crave.
It is a very big task, but this could finally be the year that Madrid end their European drought. And after a performance like last night’s, it would be a brave man who bets against them doing just that.