When the season isn’t going as planned, the Copa Del Rey becomes much more important, and Cristiano Ronaldo, accordingly, raises his level of execution to advance Real Madrid.
Fresh off another disappointing trip to a FIFA gala, Ronaldo took out his frustration on Celta, who weren’t as bad as the 4-0 scoreline might suggets, by scoring a hat-trick and adding the assist to the final goal, in a performance that was so good it made everyone kinda forget what Jose Mourinho was doing on the sidelines.
Ronaldo was going through something during November, but he has scored 5 goals in 2013 and has scored 9 goals over the last 8 matches. When he gets going early, which means that his first or second shot find the net, he booms with confidence every time he touches the ball, and doesn’t start shooting every ball that goes through his legs out of frustration. Maybe not always trying to get the goal on his first touch in each match might lead to better results. In the second leg against Vigo it didn’t really matter.
And while Ronaldo keeps doing everything right on the pitch, Jose Mourinho is baffling. You don’t know if he’s truly frustrated with everything that’s going on around him, including the Real Madrid fans, who gave him such a warm welcome in his “test” before the Atletico derby, turning against him for benching Iker Casillas, who did get the start in this one, or is this some sort of act and plan. Mourinho does give out the notion that everything he does is planned, from walking off the pitch before the match is over, showing more disrespect towards the game and his opponents (he has to work, right…) and from kicking the ball out of frustration.
There were the scary moments. Sergio Ramos, not exactly a Mourinho fan, or a favorite of Mourinho’s, got sent off during the second half in which Real Madrid found themselves back peddling, trying to hold off the Celta counter attacking. Some questioned Iker Casillas’ inclusion in the FIFA World XI, but the Spanish goalkeeper was fantastic every chance he got to make a save. Eventually, Celta sent too many players forwards, and the best counter attacking team in Europe, with Ronaldo and finally with Higuain, took full advantage of the situation.
Now that we know that Ronaldo is fine, there’s not that much to worry about for Real Madrid. For once, their defending wasn’t exposed because Vigo never created set piece chances, the Achilles heel of Real Madrid’s defense. Luka Modric had one of his better performances in the midfield for the team, although it’s pretty obvious he won’t be used when there’s more to lose.
This is life for Cristiano Ronaldo – being second to Lionel Messi most of the time. Jose Mourinho has his opinion on the Ballon d’Or, but a year earlier not winning the league and just the Copa Del Rey was enough for him to be convinced Cristiano Ronaldo deserves it. Nothing that comes out of this man’s mouth is without some sort of politicking. But it’s good to see it doesn’t effect Real Madrid’s most important player except for some unhappy faces during the ceremony. When he’s on form from the first minute, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two best players in the world.