The league means nothing, it’s all about the Champions League. Real Madrid almost lost, something they forgot can happen, but it wouldn’t have mattered. And yet, Cristiano Ronaldo has enough professional and hunger in him to deny that from happening, keeping the right kind of mode heading into the matches that really matter pretty soon.
It’s all about letting some players rest, while giving others, like Kaka, the illusion that they actually matter to Jose Mourinho as he hands out minutes to players who aren’t really valuable to him in his attempt to glorify his name with a third Champions League trophy, and on the way maybe also help Real Madrid wins its 10th.
The best player for Real Madrid was probably Marcelo, who we haven’t seen on the football pitches for quite some time. Fabio Coentrao is the much better defender, and the more versatile player tactically, but there’s a reason Marcelo has been with Real Madrid for so long, despite his deficiencies and short temper. Few wing backs or whatever Marcelo’s position is can do the things he does, and become such a threat at goal with his dribbling and long range shooting. Coentrao gives Real Madrid other things, but not that.
And as usual, the key players for Real Madrid as they head to their relatively easy match against Galatasray, the only thing Mourinho is thinking about, are a rather short list behind Cristiano Ronaldo. Mesut Ozil, who played for only 30 minutes; Angel di Maria, who got the same amount of time on the pitch; Xabi Alonso, who rested the entire 90 minutes; and Luka Modric, who got to start, but will probably be used off the bench, depending on what Real Madrid will need to get – a goal or some more possession after 60-65 minutes of football.
Sometimes, football seasons are about drama and tension for the final three months of the season. Other times, it’s only a matter of passing the time between really important matches, as the league itself has entered garbage time session before the turn of 2012 into 2013.