The idea that La Liga is a two-team league has gone up in smoke in the past few seasons, with Atletico Madrid breaking up the Real Madrid and Barcelona duopoly. Yet, it’s still a surprise when Barcelona and Real Madrid are not topping the La Liga table, as is the case at present – Madrid are 2 nd with 15 points, with Barcelona on 4th , two points behind.
Yet, the manner and frequency of these two La Liga giants dropping points hints at a deeper malaise, one that could be more permanent if not corrected by their managers soon enough.
Here are 5 reasons why Barcelona and Real Madrid are struggling this season
#1 Ronaldo’s form and Messi’s absence
You don’t need an abundance of brain cells to know that if Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are misfiring, Real Madrid and Barcelona will not play as well as they normally do. While Ronaldo and Messi’s teammates are no mugs, you cannot truly compensate for the loss of football’s two greatest players.
Ever since he returned from a successful summer with Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo has looked off the pace and erratic. It's a combination of mental and physical fatigue, the result being that Ronaldo has often hindered Madrid's attacking play. With Ronaldo repeatedly appearing unhappy with his performances, Zinedine Zidane faces his a true test of his man-management powers.
As for Lionel Messi, there's not much Barcelona can do. The Argentine has looked injury prone over the last couple of seasons, and Barcelona will have to get used to it as Messi ages. Where the Blaugrana have failed though, is in not anticipating that Neymar would have come back tired after the Olympics and thus would not compensate for Messi's absence like he did last season.