Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero for 14 minutes. The best player in the world again. But Bayern Munich were the better team through the 90 minutes, deserving more than just one goal for how they cancelled Real Madrid at home in their second leg. Justice? A Penalty shootout isn’t exactly justice. Ronaldo, only human, failed like Messi.
It tells you something about the Bundesliga. The first thing I thought during the match, when it was clear this is Bayern’s game to give or take, was how good will Dortmund be next year. About Germany in the Euro. About Jose Mourinho who couldn’t come up with a Plan B (favorite words of Barce critics these days) to regain domination of the match. Of how great a player Bastian Schweinsteiger is.
Cristiano Ronaldo and the Lionel Messi Trajectory
Fate throws weird curve-balls at people sometime. The hastiness of pundits and fans to crown and dethrone is blinding at times. Messi was the king and quickly got tagged as a ‘loser’ for bad games against Real Madrid and Chelsea and one missed penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the Semi Final against Bayern Munich with two quick goals, moving past Didier Drogba on the Champions League scoring charts. Then came the penalty kicks, Manuel Neuer picked up something during the first kick, and Ronaldo was branded as a big moment choker again.
That’s not serious. It’s close to a joke. Ronaldo, like Real Madrid, were good for very short parts of the match. The fact that he needed defending from his manager regarding his credentials after everyone were willing to put him back on the pedestal of best in the world (after the clasico) makes you realize just how fickle this whole game is. Penalty shoot outs are a lot about luck, among other factors.
Why Players Love Jose Mourinho
Not a word about getting outplayed by Bayern. Jupp Heynckes never gets a lot of credit, especially after Bayern missing out on the title once again. Especially after losing twice to Dortmund. But his team outplayed Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, not winning in the 90 minutes frame because of Iker Casillas and a bit of bad luck.
Mourinho’s genius didn’t show up at this match. No impact and change was he able to make in order to give his player a better shot. But Mourinho never blames himself or his players. He just praises them and moves on – talking about his future (wanting to stay), and comparing Ronaldo to Messi. I wonder what theories we’ll hear about the third year syndrome.
Arjen Robben Redemption
Opposite from Ronaldo. Robben barely squeezed in his penalty kick to put Bayern back on level terms, but it changed the match completely. Suddenly, he was soaring with confidence, cutting to the middle with ease. He didn’t take one of the spot kick during the penalty shootout, but Robben was in one of his unstoppable days. A bit more concentration from Mario Gomez would have made the result a fairer one.
Robben is just a step below Messi and Ronaldo when he’s on fire. He doesn’t have the same consistency in scoring, but he can be just as unstoppable with the ball when he makes those slices from the right wing to the middle of the box. Two defenders don’t always help. When he gets the support he needs from Lahm or Ribery shifting wings, Bayern look like the best team in Europe.