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Real Madrid finally back to where they belong

1.03K   //    18 Mar 2011, 01:46 IST

Real Madrid stroll into the quarterfinals of the Champions league. Sounds a cliche isn’t it. But it wasn’t like that for some years now. Beaten by the likes of Lyon , Liverpool,  Juventus and many others for the past six years in the round of 16 , the Madrid fans were starved of the glitter and glory surrounding the Europe’s best club competition.The nine times champions looked from the sidelines when their European counterparts like Barcelona , Manchester United and A C Milan lifted the prestigious Champions league trophy. However history was to change this time around.

Karim Benzema was instrumental in hunting down his former club at the Bernabeu and putting Real Madrid through

Call it ‘deja vu’ but they once again drew their eternal nemesis Lyon in the pre-quarterfinals. It was Lyon who incidentally knocked them out in the same stage last year. Even this year,  Madrid knew it won’t be easy and their ghosts from the past came to haunt them when they conceded late after going ahead in the first leg held at Lyon. But to their advantage Real Madrid were playing the second leg at home and with the away goal advantage , a 0 – 0 was sufficient to take them to the quarterfinals. However its not Real Madrid’s style to play a defensive brand of football and the Bernabau likes their team to attack. Lyon were demolished and the ghosts of last years year were banished. Marcelo, Benzema and Di Maria scored the goals and Lyon were comfortably defeated 3-0.

The match showed why Real Madrid is not the same team as last year. Mourinho has changed the way Real Madrid defends without curbing their attacking instincts .  Hence Madrid are not only scoring goals at will but are also keeping tight sheets when they need to. This was evident from the match against Lyon where Real Madrid needed to be strong in defence. Never in the match did it appear that Madrid were in danger of losing out and it was an extremely composed and professional performance from the men in white.

Apart from the fact that Real Madrid won convincingly,  it also gave a measure of Real Madrid’s strength in this year’s European competition. Madrid might have been out of the reckoning in the Champions League for too long but they haven’t lost the pedigree. Their aura is still intact. The yesteryear’s Zidane and Figo’s have been succeeded by the Ozil’s, Di Maria’s and Ronaldo’s. Just because they are playing in a league which contains Barcelona, who are probably the best team in the world compared even to the best of the best ,  Real Madrid didn’t attract so much attention for their game.  But slowly and gradually this seems to be changing . With the advent of Mourinho , the team’s psyche has becoming strong . Europe is slowly but steadily  beginning to take notice  of the might of Real Madrid. With the quarterfinals and semifinals draw to take place tomorrow, one thing is for sure. No team will want to draw Real Madrid in the quarterfinals. Not even Barcelona.

Indian It Male or yet another IIM : quizzer, fizzer , gazer. A football freak and avid Real Madrid fan.
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