EYE ON LA LIGA : The curse continues as Real exit Champions League

About two months of so ago, I wrote in these pages that despite Fiorentino Perez’s outlandish spending last summer on superstars including Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Old Trafford in a world record transfer fee, Real Madrid could end the season empty handed, and with a quarter of the season remaining, there’s very little to show the contrary.

About two months of so ago, I wrote in these pages that despite Fiorentino Perez’s outlandish spending last summer on superstars including Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Old Trafford in a world record transfer fee, Real Madrid could end the season empty handed, and with a quarter of the season remaining, there’s very little to show the contrary.

With so much expectation on their shoulders before the start of the season, the new galactico era may not have started in the worst way possible.  Less than three months before the end of the season, Real Madrid only have the Spanish league to play for!

Following their elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Olympique Lyon on Wednesday, painful questions are being asked about Real’s policy under Perez of forking out a quarter of a billion dollars on new players.

Florentino Perez returned for a second term as president pledging to end Real’s five-year run of failure in Europe’s elite club competition but the nine-times European champions’ dream of a 10th triumph was crushed by the French side.

Already with a fully fledged squad made up of international stars, Madrid added no fewer than seven mega stars to the squad including Ronaldo, kaka, Benzema, Albiol, Alonso, Abaloa, in a bid to not only challenge for trophies, mainly the Champions League but also upstage their bitter rivals Barcelona domestically.

But like it’s widely said, money can’t everything, more so success in football as Perez and Co. will realize come May when the curtain falls on the current campaign. Hope the Sheiks at Manchester City are watching and possibly learning from Real’s adventures.

As the season got underway last August, it was expected that, at the very least, Real might just be able to buy a trip to their own turf at the Santiago Bernabeu on May 22.

But Olympique Lyon, a club that has over the recent years become Real’s bogey opponents in the competition, had other ideas.

But again, when you put into perspective the fact that no host team has made the final in the modern Champions League era since 1992, then Real’s exit at the first knockout stage for the fifth year running isn’t very much of a shock, after all, it’s a curse that does not appear like abating anytime soon.

Madrid probably deserved to go out as they are not playing as a team but rather as a group of overly paid bunch of footballers, and with a lot of egos flying around their dressing room.

It’s evident that there’s no harmony among the players, which in turn comes back to bite the team quite hard.

Guti has already made his mind known about the way the team is playing while team captain Raul must be burning from inside as he’s experiencing something new in his career of spending more time warming the bench than leading from the front. Surely this should or must be his last season at the only club he has played for his whole life. You pity the lovable guy, an idol to Real fans!

Out of the Kings Cup, Spanish Cup and now the Champions League, Manuel Pellegrini and his galactic flops only have the La Liga to fight for, but again their main focus was somewhere else.

Liga race

Despite the blip in Europe, they are on a good run in the league and have the chance to stay top when they visit third from bottom Valladolid in tomorrow night’s late kick-off.

The champions Barcelona, who are not having the best of times at the moment, have a tough home tie against third placed Valencia in the early kick-off Sunday, but with their perfect home record coupled with Valencia’s travel sickness, you wouldn’t bet your house against a home win.

Like last season, Messi is again proving to be the man carrying the team’s burden of scoring goals as his 19 for the season put him at the top of the league’s top scoring chart.

nku78@yahoo.com

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