La Liga or Champions League: What's More Important to Real Madrid?

Rik SharmaFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2014

Madrid want to add to their trophy cabinet.
Madrid want to add to their trophy cabinet.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid are going strong in both La Liga and the Champions League, but winning one would hold far more weight than the other.

Obviously the goal for Carlo Ancelotti's side is to win both and complete the treble, having already won the Copa del Rey.

Beating Barcelona 2-1 in Valencia thanks to a magic winner from Gareth Bale was a sweet triumph for Los Blancos.

It was important for the Italian and his team to beat Barcelona having already lost to them twice in the league.

Winning La Liga would be particularly delicious for Madrid supporters, because not only would they be taking it back from Barcelona, but also denying their city rivals too.

Atletico Madrid currently sit top of the table, six points clear of Real, having played one game more. Barcelona are two ahead, also having played a game extra.

Madrid would love to stop Atleti from winning.
Madrid would love to stop Atleti from winning.Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

It would be embarrassing for both Barcelona and Real Madrid to lose out on the title to Diego Simeone's side, especially when taking into account the behaviour of the three clubs in the transfer market.

Where Atletico sold their key player, Radamel Falcao, Barcelona splashed the cash on Neymar and Real did the same with Bale.

Simeone's side have spent far less money than their illustrious title rivals over the years, but have this season benefitted from discipline and organisation.

Whereas Madrid at times lose their heads and Barcelona look wayward, Atletico have generally been consistent.

So for Ancelotti's side to recover and top the table at the end of the season would be a superb feat.

Atletico would have to lose one of their next games, with the most likely being the trip to face Valencia away on 27 April. Simeone's side also have to go to Camp Nou on 18 May, though Real would still need to win their remaining games in order to capitalise on any potential Atletico slip ups.

Obviously a defeat at Barcelona is in no way guaranteed, given that the Blaugrana would hate to see archrivals Real getting their hands on the trophy.

By contrast, there is no animosity between fans of Barcelona and Atletico; bringing to mind the phrase "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Bale helped Madrid win the Copa against Barca.
Bale helped Madrid win the Copa against Barca.Alberto Saiz

But, as good as taking back the league from Barcelona would be, the real target in Madrid is the Champions League.

Winning it would achieve "La Decima"—the tenth.

Real beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 when they last won the competition in 2002 to record their ninth triumph—two more than closest rivals AC Milan.

It has been the greatest target for Ancelotti since the start of the season. He said at his unveiling in the summer, as per ESPN:

We all know that La Decima is the big objective, for the club, for everyone. I have that ambition and that responsibility—that is not a problem for me. Every year the coach has a responsibility. To win la decima is such a big motivation.

The club have been obsessed with trying to achieve La Decima. Appointing Jose Mourinho back in 2010 was a deliberate move to bring in a proven European winner, although it did not pay off.

Ancelotti too has Champions League pedigree and won the competition with Milan in 2003 and 2007.

Ancelotti wants to achieve La Decima.
Ancelotti wants to achieve La Decima.David Ramos/Getty Images

Legendary Madrid goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, answered the question himself when asked by Spanish television channel La Sexta back in 2012. Since then, the yearning has only grown. 

As reported by ESPN, when prompted to choose which trophy he would rather win, Casillas responded:

La Decima. I do not have to think about it. If you told me know that we would finish 25 points behind Barcelona in La Liga that is obviously not ideal as the domestic competition is very important. But if you tell me that we are going to win La Decima, I would sign for that right now.