Celta Vigo 1-4 Real Madrid, 5 Talking Points: La Liga 2016/17

Zidane Talking Points Celta Real Madrid
Zinedine Zidane oversaw a crucial victory for Real Madrid

Real Madrid earned a crucial away win to Celta Vigo, trouncing La Celeste by a 1-4 scoreline. The result puts Real Madrid firmly in the driver’s seat for the La Liga title, as they only need 1 point from their final game against Malaga to lift the trophy.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring for Real Madrid in the 10th minute with a record-breaking goal, before doubling the advantage in the second half. Iago Aspas was controversially sent off soon after, which was followed by John Guidetti pulling one back for the hosts. Karim Benzema silenced the home crowd with a goal seconds later, before Toni Kroos wrapped things up late in the game to put one had firmly on the La Liga trophy.

Here are the major talking points from the game:

#1 Zidane has the last laugh... again

'Scandal' screamed the newspapers in Catalonia as Nacho's yellow card was overturned by La Liga ahead of this game. Yet, Zinedine Zidane outfoxed them all by not even playing the Real Madrid defender in this game.

Time and again this season, the Frenchman has had the answers whenever Real Madrid have been questioned. Zidane copped plenty of criticism when Real Madrid were knocked out by Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey earlier this season, but tonight was the perfect revenge.

Zidane has infused his side with game-management of another level entirely - just when it seemed that Celta Vigo were threatening to erupt and make this game a contest, up popped Karim Benzema to silence the Balaidos. This Madrid side have a knack for scoring at the perfect moment, but it's happened far too often this season for it to be a coincidence.

Like Zidane the player, Real Madrid know what to do, when to do & to do it right.

#2 Celta Vigo’s striking issue may have cost them a trophy

John Guidetti of RC Celta de Vigo protests during the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg match between Deportivo Alaves and RC Celta de Vigo at Estadio de Mendizorroza on February 8, 2017 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Guidetti proved why Manchester City were right to let him go

Celta Vigo have never won a trophy in their entire history.

The Galicians may be one of the most exciting sides to watch in La Liga, but until they sharpen their front line, Eduardo Berizzo's side are destined to be bridesmaids forever. John Guidetti was the perfect embodiment of why Celta Vigo have exited the Europa League and the Copa del Rey in the semifinals.

Despite getting a goal, Guidetti was awful tonight. His performance was made to look all the more ridiculous as Ronaldo offered himself up in stark contrast as the ideal, lethal striker. A 30-second spell in the game proved to be defining, where Guidetti dallied in the box when offered a gilt-edged chance to score, and the move ended up with him losing the ball and Ronaldo scoring his second of the night on the counter attack.

Iago Aspas and Daniel Wass were brilliant in their supporting roles, making great runs off the ball that were married to ingenious flicks that a better striker would have made merry with. Celta's other option was Claudio Beauvue - and if they're serious about their future as a competitive club, a lethal front man should be high up on their transfer list. Aspas and Wass deserve better.

#3 Refereeing in La Liga needs help

Referee Celta Madrid La Liga
Celta Vigo were the victims of a horrendous refereeing performance

Juan Martinez Munera.

That will be the name on everyone’s lips in Catalonia tomorrow, as the fallout from this game gets dissected and pondered over. Even to the neutral’s eye, the refereeing in tonight’s clash was abysmal. Any other league in the world and Iago Aspas finishes the game. It’s gotten ridiculous at this point – La Liga need to take a serious look at aiding the men in the middle.

Two contentious moments of the game stand out – Varane’s ‘handball’ resulted in Aspas getting booked for dissent and then Celta’s best player on the night was given his marching orders when Munera adjudged him to have dived when caught by Sergio Ramos from behind. Putting aside all sinister allegations of ‘goody bags’ and ‘briefcases’ aside, this was a referee who had lost control of the game.

Barcelona may well complain that Munera may have cost them the league title, but there’s a bigger picture here. It’s the perfect opportunity to place pressure on the head of the RFEF and introduce a Video Assistant Referee as soon as next season.

#4 Ronaldo finally has what he wanted from Messi

Ronaldo Celta Madrid 5TP
Cristiano Ronaldo was brilliant for Real Madrid yet again

“His left foot is pretty good, better than mine. I'd like to have his left foot.”

That’s what Cristiano Ronaldo replied in 2016 when quizzed about what he’d like to have from Messi’s game. In true Ronaldo-esque fashion, the Portuguese superstar has worked towards his goal – and achieved it. Ronaldo’s last three goals for Real Madrid have come with his left foot – and what exquisite strikes they have been.

Tonight’s opener was a thunderous effort with minimal backlift, nutmegging his marker and rippling the corner of the net with the Celta keeper barely moving a muscle. Ronaldo finished the night with almost the opposite goal, a calm finish low into the near post, again with his left foot.

He may have broken an all-time record but what’s gone unnoticed is that all the talk of Ronaldo’s supposed decline has vanished. The Portuguese superstar’s evolution is as certain as it is fascinating, and I wouldn’t bet against him going from strength to strength – Ronaldo has lost 3-4 kgs of muscle mass on purpose to recover more speed in his game, and it's showing. Where will he go from here?

#5 La Liga is all but over as a ‘race’

Real Madrid La Liga Celta Vigo
Real Madrid could be lifting the La Liga trophy this weekend

Going into the final clash on Sunday, Real Madrid lead La Liga by 3 points. FC Barcelona face Eibar while Real Madrid travel to Malaga in concurrent games that will decide the destiny of the title. All Real Madrid have to do is avoid defeat and they can guarantee their first La Liga tile since the 2011/12 season when Jose Mourinho was in charge.

If we’re going by history, Real Madrid have all but wrapped up the title – in the 30 La Liga games that have occurred between Real Madrid and Malaga, Los Blancos have lost exactly once. That loss came in 2012 when Jose Mourinho’s side went down 3-2 to a Malaga side inspired by Isco, who scored the opener.

HIstory is firmly on Real Madrid’s side, although stranger things have happened. Realistically though, we will in all probability witness Zinedine Zidane ending Real Madrid’s 5 year wait for La Liga.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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