The best Cristiano is being missed

Real Madrid – Málaga live

Simeone has one foot in the semis

Atlético and Barça completed their homework well last night in the Copa del Rey. Atlético will take a fantastic result (3-0) into the second leg. At the end of the game Eibar's Ander Capa said: "Now we can focus on the league". It was the right game for Atleti, one in which Simeone recovered what we could call 'the controversial formation', with players in the middle. It worked well. Nothing extraordinary, but Altético maintained a steady rythem of play and goals came as a logical consequence of their superiority. Their prospects are good, although nothing can be taken for granted, and those that braved the cold yesterday went away happy.

Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann celebrate after scoring against SD Eibar at the Vicente Calderon.

Breaking the Anoeta streak

And Barça won in Anoeta, 0-1, thanks to a Neymar goal from a stonewall penalty. They then had another that the referee not only didn't give but booked Neymar. This was not vintage Barça, and in the second half they were pressed at times by La Real, but it was a professional Barça that played with dignity in all areas of the pitch. La Real went away lamenting missed chances and their fans were angry with some late intemperances from Barça, especially an inexplicable one from Luis Suárez. People were also annoyed that the scheduling of the game that broke up the traditional family dinner celebrating Tamborrada. For Barça, against a Real side that has cost them dearly recently, the 0-1 is a great result.

Barcelona's Neymar slots home the penalty.

Cristiano needs to adapt

The good results by Atlético and Barça cause a little more pain for Madrid. The three games against Sevilla, a team that drives you to the edge, have taken their toll. What a difference with last January, when Madrid were run out of the Copa due to some carelessness in Cadiz! But I think the worst thing that is happening at Madrid is that Cristiano is now a shadow of himself. For years Madrid banked on him, his fifty goals per season. It was like stepping onto the field already a goal up. That's a thing of the past, Cristiano is not scoring, nor even intimidating. I don't think this is forever though. He just needs to adapt to a new task, but it's taking time.

Football Soccer - Real Madrid v Celta Vigo - Spanish King's CupReal Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in a period of transition.