Why Real Madrid Can Use Copa Del Rey Success to Complete the Treble

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistApril 17, 2014

One down, two to go. Real Madrid's Copa del Rey win against Barcelona is just the beginning.

That's according to Pepe, as per Inside Spanish Football, who said: "We found a way to win, but now we have the Champions League and La Liga.

"We need to fight to add the maximum amount of titles possible."

The Copa del Rey was always going to be the easiest of the three trophies to win.

We saw how goalkeeper Iker Casillas went an astonishing 1,209 minutes without conceding until Barcelona's Marc Bartra scored a brilliant header.

That was the only goal in the tournament he let in, and even that was inconsequential, thanks to Gareth Bale's solo goal helping Madrid to a 2-1 victory over their archrivals.

Obviously a game against Barcelona is never going to be easy for Los Blancos.

Even though the Catalan side have been beaten black and blue by events this season, they will always pick themselves up off the canvas to go another round with Real.

Madrid dominated the early exchanges and were good value for their lead at the interval.

But they began to lose momentum in the second half and Barcelona began to forge openings and opportunities.

Bartra nodded home a corner and Madrid suddenly looked in danger of throwing the Copa del Rey away.

Just as they surrendered the lead to Barcelona in the recent La Liga Clasico, Carlo Ancelotti's men seemed set to fail in another big match.

Bale and Madrid have not pulled their weight in the previous four fixtures against Barcelona and city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Three defeats and one draw in those matches are not results befitting a proud club like Real Madrid.

If they had lost another huge game, people would have been at Ancelotti's throat.

To lose at the Bernabeu to Barcelona is bad enough, but to be beaten three times in one season by the Blaugrana would have been sickening.

It would have been a brutal blow to the confidence of the players at the club.

Ancelotti was overjoyed with the triumph. He said in a press conference after the game, as per Sky Sports:

I think we played very well, we were playing against a very strong team. We had to suffer at times but I think it is a deserved victory. We are very proud to have won this competition. More than anything, I want to congratulate the players. The atmosphere inside the stadium from both sets of supporters was fantastic, I am happy to be here and to have experienced this spectacle.

When you consider the games ahead, Madrid will need to muster every ounce of spirit they have.

The Champions League semi-final draw pitted them against German giants Bayern Munich.

Pep Guardiola's side are the current European champions and the favourites to go on and lift the title once again.

The manager is, of course, a former Barcelona star, both as a player and as the boss.

He knows how to get the better of Real Madrid and will prepare his Bayern side accordingly.

But Real proved on Wednesday night that they still have the belief to come out from under the cosh and get a result.

To head into a tie against opponents who are as good as them, or better, without having won in a similar situation would have been scary.

But now Madrid can face Bayern knowing that they have already won one trophy.

The result should give them momentum and there's no league game for them this weekend so they'll be well rested ahead of next Wednesday's clash at the Bernabeu.

Bale too, will be on top of the world.

He finally produced a magic moment in a big match and has arrived at Madrid for real.

Until now, he has been treading water, but his strike against Barcelona was truly special and demonstrated why Madrid made him the world’s most expensive player.

As good as Bayern are, if Bale is at his best, then he is difficult to stop.

Xabi Alonso said, as per Inside Spanish Football: "Bale’s goal was amazing.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.  I thought the ball was out, they pushed him, he ran off the pitch. Impressive."

Ancelotti added in his post-match press conference: "I had the perfect view of, it was a fantastic goal from an extraordinary player. We are lucky he plays for Real Madrid."

Madrid also showed they can win without Cristiano Ronaldo, so if the Portugal star does not return from injury by the time the Champions League comes around, Real will not be lost without him.

La Liga is a difficult proposition too, but thanks to Barcelona’s slip-up against Granada, Madrid are in touching distance of leaders Atletico.

They are three points behind Diego Simeone’s side with five games to go in the Spanish top flight.

In effect that is four points, as Atletico have the better head-to-head record, which is used to divide teams that finish level on points.

So Madrid will still need two other sides to do them a favour.

With Barcelona hosting Atletico on the final day and Valencia welcoming them to the Mestalla on April 27, there are banana skins for the underdogs to slip up on.

For their part, Madrid must win the rest of their league fixtures. That shouldn’t prove too difficult, given that none of them are particularly taxing.

They will be able to rest players against Osasuna at home, which is sandwiched between the two legs of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern.

Ancelotti does not rotate his first team too much, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of the usual reserves like Asier Illarramendi be given a starting berth.

Completing the treble is a tricky proposition and the fans would be happy enough if they won just one of the other two trophies on offer. La Decima, their 10th Champions League win, will be the priority.

The Copa Del Rey is a stepping stone on the path to that greater glory.

But, as discussed, it was crucial to win it for squad morale, to create a winning mentality and spirit.

Madrid president Florentino Perez thought as much, saying, as per Inside Spanish Football: "It is great to have the first title. It boosts our confidence to keep fighting for our goals, such as the tenth European Cup and to win La Liga, because we still have a chance and we are going to make the most of it."


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