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How Real Madrid turned the tables on Barcelona

European and world champions Real Madrid are in a strong position to dominate club football for years to come if events in the last five months are anything to go by.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid celebrate their win over Barcelona in the Superopa Source: Getty Images

And the team they have deposed - eternal rivals Barcelona - are becoming a mere shadow of the one that mesmerised the world game.

The ease with which Zinedine Zidane’s Los Blancos dismissed the challenges of Atletico Madrid and Juventus in the latter stages of last season’s UEFA Champions League and those of Manchester United and Barcelona in the last fortnight should serve as a strong eye-opener and a portent of things to come.

The season has only just started and Madrid already have claimed the European and Spanish Super Cups with the promise of more silverware to make its way towards the fabled club, starting with the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in December.

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Madrid’s current form shows that they are nicely placed to further enhance the stature and appeal of the Champions League in the same way the world’s most glamorous club made the old European Cup so special by winning the first five editions from 1956 with a style of attacking football that had never been seen.

Madrid’s commitment to incessant attack as soon as they get the ball is a joy to watch and there is no doubt that it would take a hell of a team to stop this authentic goal machine from winning all there is to win this season at home and abroad.

Madrid’s impressive 2-0 win over Barcelona in the second leg of Spain’s Super Cup was the 68th consecutive game in all competitions that they scored at least one goal. They have since made it 69 with a 3-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna in the first round of LaLiga. 

It is a European record and, the way they are going, who is to say that Madrid won’t break the world mark of 74 scoring games held by Pele’s Santos since way back in the early 1960s?

Figures alone do not necessarily tell the full story behind Madrid’s renaissance - three Champions League wins in the last four seasons - that coincides with Barca’s general decline that has been gathering momentum since that epic yet flattering 6-1 rout of Paris Saint-Germain last season.

Yet the signs that emerged from the two legs of the Spanish Super Cup would suggest that Madrid are now a far stronger and better organised side than their counterparts from Catalonia.
Zidane also has frightening depth in his squad, which is something Barcelona lack.

It is abundantly clear that Barca desperately need a couple of world class players if they are to mount a meaningful challenge domestically and in Europe.

The world's best player Lionel Messi is a genuine superstar but Superman he ain't and he cannot do it all on his own while stalwarts Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta are sadly past their peak.

I would not go as far as to say that it was like boys against men but the disparity in class, cohesion, confidence and commitment was there for all to see.

The 5-1 aggregate did not flatter Madrid one bit and they did it virtually without superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who played for only a few minutes in the first leg but had enough time to score a pearler before getting himself sent off and earning a five-match ban.

Pique is in no doubt about Madrid’s supremacy. “I’ve been here nine years and it’s the first time I feel inferior to Madrid,” he declared.

Madrid would have to be the clear favourites to retain their world, European and Spanish crowns.

And the exhilarating football they produced even without Ronaldo at the Bernabeu would suggest that they should cope with the forced absence of the mercurial Portuguese.

It took 27 years for a European club to emulate AC Milan’s feat of winning two straight European titles.

Now that Madrid have achieved that feat by winning the last two continental titles they should be able to become the first team to land a trifecta since Franz Beckenbauer’s Bayern Munich overcame Saint-Etienne in Glasgow in 1976. 

The group stage draw takes place on Friday (AEST) and I’m sure no big team would want to face white-hot Real. 

Real Madrid winning titles all over the place is beginning to sound like a broken record.


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4 min read
Published 21 August 2017 at 11:43am
By Philip Micallef