While all the talk after another Real Madrid drop of points is about the manager who thinks he’s bigger than the team and the goalkeeper who won’t take this benching quietly Cristiano Ronaldo, the most interesting man to look at no matter the room he steps into, was forgotten and ignored as the season took another turn for the worse.
Every goal Antonio Adan conceded, a man Jose Mourinho had no problem saying was better than Iker Casillas at the moment (in better form at least), the cameras moved to see how Casillas was reacting on the freezing bench. There was nothing happy about his faces and behavior. Nor was there anything good about Mourinho, as he failed to inspire or explain what’s going on with his team this season.
To the side was Cristiano Ronaldo. Frustrated, left out of the big drama for once, but unable to make the kind of effect he can when he’s counted out. He had a couple of chances with long range shots in the first half, but most of his contributing came from excellent passing, that unfortunately couldn’t be taken advantage of by his teammates and especially Angel Di Maria, who kept moving into the right space that Ronaldo was clearing for him, but didn’t make the most of it.
And there always has to be drama with Real Madrid. Malaga seemed more stunned than anyone in the first 45 minutes, despite playing at home. Pellegrini told his players to be cautious, and it looked more like they were confused, except for Martin Demichelis and Jesus Gamez, who did a good job in keeping Real Madrid players out of Caballero’s box most of the time.
For Real Madrid, whatever was happening on and off the pitch in the first half became a disaster in the second. All the clever passing and quick combinations disappeared, as Malaga, through the wonderful Isco and Eliseu became braver and more dangerous after scoring the opening goal in the 49th minute. An own goal by Sergio Sanchez did change the picture, but then came the four minutes of Roque Santa Cruz.
The Paraguayan striker came off the bench for Javier Saviola and simply made a laughing stock of Pepe in two opportunities, both of them too much for Adan to handle. Would Iker Casillas have done better? Every Real Madrid fan watching at home was asking the same question. We don’t know what going on through Casillas’ head, but we can guess. It wasn’t good or kind towards the man who benched him. Jose Mourinho, who has burned his players time after time this season after disappointing results, was a bit more gentle in the post match press conference.
Where to go from here? It’s mostly garbage time, at least in the La Liga. Come to think of it, Real have to chase down the second spot. Atletico might have failed in their attempts to usurp the throne, but they’re not having too much trouble against anyone else, unlike their city rivals, who have only won 4 of their 9 away matches. Malaga are only two points behind Real Madrid, who might have been too caught up, like Ronaldo was, in the Champions League knockout stage festival this week.