Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t affected by all the talk about problems between Jose Mourinho and some of his players, of the talk about crisis. What crisis? Two 1-1 draws? Real Madrid have scored 13 goals in their last 3 matches, and made it through one of the toughest and hostile venues in the La Liga with an impressive 5-1 victory and keeping their distance from Barcelona at more than safe.
Wonder goals? Check. Assists? Check. Finally, a free kick goal? Barely, with some help and controversy, but check. Ronaldo and Real Madrid did whatever they attempted, and except for a few minutes of Osasuna pressure in the second half, which also resulted in a goal by Nino, had no trouble whatsoever. Osasuna finished the frustrating encounter with 10 men, as Roland Lamah got sent off in the closing minutes.
Real can afford to play with 3 strikers, going with the combo of Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain alongside the Portuguese wonder. Ronaldo’s achievements this year are best described by numbers, reaching 37 league goals and 10 assists this season. Real Madrid reached 100 league goals after 30 matches, while Gonzalo Higuain scored twice, reaching the 100 (101 actually) goals for the club milestone. Cristiano Ronaldo? He’s at 133 in 133 matches.
If you remember, the Estadio El Sadar is one of the places where Barcelona lost one of their two matches this season in the La Liga. To watch Real cruise through this difficult match, while the objects from the stands kept flying at the players taking corners, makes you wonder how realistic is it for Barcelona to do the impossible and close the gap. Beating Real at the Nou Camp is reasonable, but to actually believe Real Madrid will drop points elsewhere is a bit crazy. Possible, but hardly.
In these kind matches, Real, always to prone to a massive defensive mistake or two, can afford to attack with few players through their counters. It didn’t change the fact that they did concede the usual goal, but it doesn’t really matter. When Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuain and another player move forward in lightning speed, it’s likely they’ll come up with another goal. If Ronaldo and Higuain would’ve been a bit more egotistical in their box play, this would have been a slaughter.
We began with Ronaldo and we’ll finish with the phenom, who had one of those matches when he doesn’t really need anyone around him. Benzema did score a wonderful volley to open the scoring, but it was a CR7 show all along, from the first minute. When he’s sharp, focused and in form, not even 100%, which he is almost every time he steps on the pitch, Real already have a two goal advantage against this kind of opposition.
Real Madrid still have to play at home twice, against Gijon and Valencia, plus a very tough away match against Atletico Madrid before they face what might be the final obstacle before securing their first league title since 2008, the visit to the Nou Camp and play Barcelona (April 22).