During the last couple of months, things have changed dramatically at La Casa Blanca. A new president, a new manager, three new players and most importantly, a tremendous and consistent performances from the team have reduced the gap with Barcelona from 12 points to just four in a matter of three weeks.
In this article, I'm going to highlight four factors that I think have helped Real regain strength and form in La Liga.
1) The sacking of Bernd Schuster
The German had been brought to bring sexy football or that's at least was Calderon's justification of sacking Capello.
It was rare that Schuster's Real played that sexy football. He only did his job by winning (which is more important), but the German's job was easier than Capello's as he found a team that had gotten its spirit and winning mentality back.
What I'm trying to say is that, Schuster didn't fulfill his promise and delivered the attacking style. He won the league and the Spanish Supercup but there was nothing extraordinary.
Real's good results combined with Barcelona's awful form and inconsistency in the league were simply the two reasons that Los Blancos won their second consecutive league title.
In the Champions League, Real where humiliated and eliminated by AS Roma and so the last 16 jinx continued.
Schuster's stubbornness and negative relationship with the press were also two factors that had a bad influence on the squad.
The fact that he had surrendered before we played Barcelona at the Camp Nou also suggests that Schuster didn't have a winning mentality and was easy to be conditioned by crisis.
2) The Appointment of Juande Ramos
This is no brainier. Juande Ramos has dramatically turned things around at the Bernabeu. He possess superb tactical and analytical skills that differentiate him from other coaches.
He knows how to analyze games well and how to “respond” by making smart substitutions and changing the way his teams play. He is also pragmatic, that is realistic. He doesn't differentiate between his players and he knows how to get the best out of them.
His decision to let players such as Robben, Rau'l and Higuain to play freely has had a positive effect on the team's results. This should have been done before, but it was only under Ramos that we saw the real Robben, the world-class winger that is a source of constant danger to most defenders.
3) The resignation of Ramon Calderon
I personally think that Calderon did many good things at Real. He helped get the team out of that coma and helped us sign some of the world's greatest players (Cannavaro, Van Nistelrooy, Diarra..etc), but the way he pursued Cristiano Ronaldo, treated Robinho and most importantly rigged the Club's Generally Assembly was absolutely unacceptable.
These were not directly related to the team's performances, but they were distractions to the team. Every morning you'd find him on Marca's or AS' cover being accused of using club's credit cards to pay his bills or for trying to contract with players without the permission of their respective clubs.
4) The Signing of Lassana Diarra
Lass adapted to the team immediately from Day One. Since his debut, he has started in eleven matches and has been impressive. His strong physical form, excellent passing skills, anticipation, and vision are what set him apart.
Many people say he is a reject, because neither Arsenal nor Chelsea wanted him in their squads. I find it normal, it is natural for footballers to move from a club to another and if they do, it doesn't mean they are rejects. They may adapt to a club but not to another.
They may get a chance or may not, and the later is the real reason Lass couldn't stay in England.
His partnership and understanding with Fernando Gago is one of the key reasons to Real's impressive results. Other midfielders such as Javi Garcia & Van der vaart are finding it hard to get a first team role because Juande can't bench Lass; he is his best defensive midfielder.
These were the four factors that I think have helped Real Madrid close on Barcelona. I might have missed something, or might have highlighted the wrong factors, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
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