A Champion's response
The good thing about being a Real Madrid fan is that the team rarely gives their supporters two reasons to be sad in a row. The fall out from the shock defeat by humble Leganés was only going to be fixed by a thumping win in Mestalla against Marcelino's Valencia, who this season have recovered their place in the upper echelons. It was an all or nothing day. A draw would only have served to to continue with our heads bowed and fed an emotional negativity that would have been disastrous with the double header against PSG on the horizon.
But this afternoon Zidane brought out his A-Team, similar to the side who put seven past Depor a week and ended up battering Valencia with a scoreline that speaks for itself: 1-4. The other day the mayor of the town of Tíjola told me a proverb from this charming little town which helped me understand what's happening to Zidane's Real Madrid side: "Tíjola, wee Tíjola, a bed of garlic, all heads", meaning, everyone there wants to be the one giving orders. When that happens the hierarchy of authority is lost, which in turn destroys any organisation. After what happened against Leganés, it's clear that the coach and the heavyweights in the dressing room have had a serious conversation. Real Madrid's attitude at Mestalla was one of commitment to the cause, of wanting to turn around the situation the players themselves for becoming complacent after all the trophies they won in 2017. In Valencia I saw green shoots. Enough to bring back my smile.
Cristiano, 'The Best'.
The Portuguese star has changed beyond all recognition since the ovation the fans at the Bernabéu gave him after missing a goal against Depor. I know for a fact that this touched him deeply and it explains all the good stuff that he's done since. Remember that after the Copa disaster it was Ronaldo who led the recovery of the team's spirits with a call to arms on social media. "Heads up team, heads up Madridistas. There are still battles left to win". The first battle won was in Mestalla. And with two of the goals from him, both thanks to penalties given away by Montoya, who was over-excited and his team paid for it. The double from the five times Ballon d'Or winner puts him on 20 goals this season (nine in the Champions League, eight in LaLiga, two in the Club World Cup and one in the Spanish Super Cup), with a total of 426 in 420 for Real Madrid. He's coming back into form. Just in time. Siiiiiiiiii7uuuuuu.
The Keylor factor
The handball style stop to prevent Parajo levelling the match shows exactly why the Costa Rican goalkeeper deserves the club's best treatment. It's time to stop looking for a replacement. Kepa, De Gea, Courtois, Oblak... But Keylor has Zidane's support in the dressing room. And of the majority of the Real Madrid fans. We love you, tico.
Work of art from Kroos
Sit back and savour the football that led to Kroos' goal. A wonder of collective play. And for Marcelo's, in a devilish partnership with Asensio. Madrid play well in their third kit. They won 1-3 in it in the Camp Nou in August. And they'll play in it in Paris...
Optimism for Real Madrid
After the dark clouds of this week, the fans have got their smiles back. The supporters based in Catalonia who went to Mestalla (they filled a bus) told me, the 105 who went from the Peña Remate Supporters Club, and Luis, my go-to carpenter and his son Marcos. And it's for Miguel Rivera, from San Vicente de Raspeig, who left us this week. This 1-4 win was for you, legend.