Whether it’s a good or bad performance from Cristiano Ronaldo, the goal will come. It may not win him any awards or league titles, but it’s hard to say there’s anyone in the world playing better than him right now, as Real Madrid continue to surge with good things happening to them lately and late in matches.
This time, it was Cristiano Ronaldo with a brace, improving to 26 goals in 26 matches this season in the La Liga and 188 goals in 186 matches for Real Madrid. He’s scored 5 goals in the last four matches for the team, all wins, three of them coming in a dramatic fashion. Not last minute goals out of nowhere, but it hasn’t gone too smoothly for Real; nothing has this season.
If Real Madrid do end up winning the Champions League (no one will call this season a success if they end up with the Copa Del Rey alone), a lot will have to be said for Diego Lopez, one of the signings of the season, despite coming practically for free to fill the shoes of an injured Iker Casillas, while it became clear to Jose Mourinho that his attempt of a joke with Antonio Adan wasn’t really funny.
Lopez saved quite a few shots in the early blitz Celta put Real Madrid through, as he did in all the recent matches against Manchester United and Barcelona. Lopez will eventually clear his spot in the lineup, but he has been preforming at the highest level this season for Real, probably better than any other goalkeeper in the La Liga.
Did Kaka dive? Yes. Was there contact? Yes. Should the referee have given Real Madrid a penalty kick? Probably not. Kaka wouldn’t have reached the ball, touched or not by Javi Varas. He sold the foul well, and there wasn’t much hesitation in the decision to give Real Madrid the penalty to win the match.
Not a great game from Real Madrid, especially when comparing it to the heights they’ve reached at the Old Trafford and Camp Nou in the previous 10 days, but still, road wins haven’t been easy for the champions this season, keeping them 13 points away from Barcelona despite the changing momentum. Being back at second place is something as well, although it’ll keep them behind Barcelona regardless of what happens.
Suddenly, everyone looks connected again. No more jaded looks on players’ faces when conceding a goal in a hostile away ground. Simply motivation and pushing through, not always with the most elegant of footballing performances, but some wins don’t need too much quality from the likes of Mesut Ozil.
Sometimes all you need is inspiration and the most sure thing in finishing west of Barcelona, who seems to have put his ego and contract issues in the past. Everyone seems to have put all the baggage where it should be; things suddenly seems so ideal that there’s talk of Jose Mourinho staying for another season. I’m not so sure what Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos have to say about that, but with so many wins in every important match recently, who can argue with the results?