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Monday, March 19, 2018

The eternal European domain of the Real Madrid

Por Fidel Orihuela

The Real Madrid should still go through 5 games in the Champions League to be the winner of the most important European competition by the third time in a row, but undoubtedly its double victory over the PSG in the sixteen team round, both in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium or in the Parc des Princes, left no doubts that the power lies with the team has won 12 times the Champions League.

It is true the Madrid team did nothing more than to overcome a simple eliminatory by surpassing the PSG with a global score of 5-2, but only a few thought that this outcome was even possible because of the critical situations in which both teams arrived to the sixteen team round of the Champions League. The ones from Spain were sunken in one of the most negatives streaks of their history in national competitions, with no support from the specialists before their encounter with the PSG, which was the leading team in the Ligue 1, thanks to the power of Cavani, Neymar y Mbappe, the most dangerous threesome in Europe nowadays.

However, they finished their eliminatory with just one point in their favor, far below the expectations while the Real Madrid, faithful to their history, won two games against the French team. The strategy used by Zinedine Zidane was crucial, mostly for showing his bravery at leaving the Welsh Gareth Bale on the bench, who played last season mostly because of the high price they paid for him. After being a protégé last season, Bale had to watch most games from the bench this time while Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio o Mateo Kovačić were crucial for the team’s victories.

Vazquez y Asensio were key players when the game was one to one, while in Paris they took back their positions and disarmed the PSG with their intelligence and bravery on the field. On his part, Kovačić assumed the responsibility as central midfielder when nor Toni Kroos or Luka Modric were available. These details were combined with the amazing ability of Cristiano Ronaldo, who after a really bad first half of the season, regained control of his power. He scored three goals when facing the Parisians and increased his number to 12 in the present edition of the UEFA Champions League, trying to achieve his record of 17. Besides, the Portuguese has scored in 9 consecutive games in the play-offs, undoubtedly a detail that has taken the Real Madrid to be the team to beat when the right time comes.