Real Madrid’s triumph over Ajax on Tuesday afternoon demonstrated that their stint of questionable form is over. A brace from Jose Callejón and a goal apiece for Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo revealed that the team, even without several of its key players, is back in good form.
With their place in the KO stages of the Champions League secured after a 4-1 victory, Real Madrid will make winning the tournament their top priority.
La Liga is often criticized for being a two horse race between Barcelona and Real Madrid. This year, however, Atletico Madrid has proven itself to be a more than worthy contender, currently occupying second place.
Real finds itself in the uncomfortable position of third in the rankings, five points behind Atletico and eleven points behind Barcelona.
While Real’s chances for winning La Liga might look dismal, it is not difficult to imagine a team of their caliber making a comeback. But with eleven points separating Real from Barcelona, Real’s players’ assertions that they believe there is still a chance to win the title are starting to sound empty.
Real may opt to focus on the Champions League title where they do not have to dig themselves out a hole in order to be in the running. They might consider that swapping the La Liga title for the Champions League title is not a bad trade given their rocky start.
In addition, Jose Mourhino is undoubtedly itching to capture the title with yet another team. The Portuguese manager has won the Champions League with both Porto and Internazionale already.
While you can never win too many titles, Real won La Liga last year, but has not won the Champions League since 2002 (Barcelona has won it three times since). The Champions League title is definitely on Mourhino’s mind; he would be a hero if he could capture it for Real.
Of course,. Real does not have to choose between striving to win the Spanish League or the Champions League. But given their standing in La Liga, a focus on the Champions League is not out of the question.
Real’s win in an important match against Atletico will give supporters hope that perhaps the season will be salvaged with the good form that the team has demonstrated recently. But if Barcelona continues to dominate as they have been, the eleven point gap would nullify any improvements in form (no matter how great) that Real might experience.
Barcelona’s consistency and significant lead indicate that Real would do well to focus its energies on reclaiming the Champions League title.