Although the world has made a massive issue of Real Madrid missing out on repeating as La Liga champions, it seems that the loss of the league has done very little to phase any Madridista and even less to their coach Jose Mourinho. Although Mourinho made it clear in the beginning of the season that their priority was the Champions League, no one thought that the statement meant anything more than the thought that Madrid would be hoping to be successful in Europe’s premier competition. However, now that we have seen their league hopes falter and their chances of snagging the league title fade months ago, it seems obvious that Mourinho had/has placed all of his eggs in the Champions League basket.
Anyone that has followed football for longer than 24 hours knows that Mourinho is insane. His antics and methods border on madness, but he always seems to provide the type of result that keeps teams like Inter, Chelsea, and Madrid interested in hiring such a man. Now, despite it seeming like there might be an exit in the cards via Manchester, Madrid is carefully placing them in the driver’s seat for their tenth Champions League title. As stated, Mourinho told us that this was his goal, but very few of us realized how much Los Blancos would be focusing on the CL (crazy, right?).
The most interesting aspect of this is the fact that Madrid have always seem to fold in this type of pressure situation in major tournaments. Sure, they snagged a few Copa Del Reys, but the Champions League has seemed somewhat distant from their grasp in the few years of Mourinho’s reign. They have not been to a Champions League final since he arrived, but there seems to be something different about this campaign. The emphasis seems to have flowed from the manager to the players and they seem to be responding with gusto.
For a football blogger, a Bayern/Madrid final is the type of fixture that I would salivate over. I have seen enough el clasico’s in the past few years to last me a lifetime and I also feel that this Barcelona squad has been figured out by Madrid. BVB did perform admirably in the group stage against Madrid, but the team that we saw in the beginning of the competition does not resemble this current squad. Ronaldo is in top-scoring form, the defense has seemed to strengthen despite the loss of Casillas, and the midfield is providing the attack with the type of service that they thrive on.
Madrid has never been the type of team to sleep on. They have also never been the type of team to go “all in” on. However, they are definitely starting to make a few believers. If they can dominate in the next fixture when they travel to one of the most hostile stadiums in the world, then Madrid may have finally shrugged off whatever had ailed them in this competition in the past. One thing is certain…I would not want my team to get placed against them right now…