When pressed against the wall, Real Madrid usually come up with their best. It’s happened more than once this season, and on a tough away test in Valencia, with Cristiano Ronaldo giving us simply a performance of the highest quality, it came to be once again with a devastating 5-0 first half.
Good news come in triplets: Falcao injured for Atletico Madrid, giving Real Madrid some hope that in the next three weeks they’ll be able to bite into the 7 point difference between them and the team in second place; Barcelona losing their first match of the season. No one is actually thinking that Barca, 15 points away from the holding champions at the moment, can be caught, but some news are always nice to here; and now this – a 5-0 win at the Mestalla, a stadium that’s been very welcoming to Real Madrid in recent years, with all the goals scored during the best first half of football from any team in Europe this season.
It’s like every time it seems Jose Mourinho has a problem with a certain player, that issue is resolved shortly later on the pitch. The news of a row between Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo led to the theory that maybe Ronaldo will be the next ‘untouchable’ to be benched. The Portuguese star may not be on best terms with his manager at the moment, but that didn’t stop him from abusing Ricardo Costa, a centre back forced to play as a right back. Ronaldo finished the match with two goals and an assists.
Every goal looked better than the one before it, with the fourth being absolutely delightful, as Ozil met an Angel Di Maria cross with the side of his boot, dropping it to Ronaldo who shot without waiting. Gonzalo Higuain put Real Madrid up very early, but the real killer was the 11 minute stretch before half time in which Real Madrid simply couldn’t be stopped. Angel Di Maria, another player with some Mourinho problems at the moment, was undoubtedly at the best he’s been all season, moving from wing to center and creating a chance on every touch.
The rest was garbage time. Real Madrid passing the time by passing in the middle, Valencia helplessly trying to get something out of this match; a goal or two, but were simply broken and torn to shreds after the first half that they couldn’t get anything against an organized and pleased Real Madrid side.
The real team hides somewhere between matches like this and the 0-0 draw at Osasuna a week before. Adversity usually brings the best out Real’s best players, while their manager is doing some sort of act by looking bored on the bench, not flinching at all no matter what happens on the pitch. If this is the way Real will approach matches this season – struggling against teams that close down, fight and bite, while flourishing when it becomes a much more open match, allowing them to execute the fastest counter attacks in European football, there’s still plenty to look forward to in the Copa del Rey (possibly Barcelona in the next round) and the Champions League.