It was a glorious afternoon at the Bernabéu – in terms of the fine sunny weather and the goals we were treated to. There’s no doubt that the PSG tie has come just at the right time for Real Madrid. They’ve managed to haul themselves out of the stagnated rut they were in, during a league title race in which they’ve been left behind early on and spirits are back at healthy levels once again. Among the facets which they have recovered is perhaps the main one - Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal scoring. After the odd, sluggish pace at which he was finding the target (or not) at the start of the season, it seems normal business has resumed. Cristiano is back scoring in every game, or practically every game and with his ratio restored and brimming with goals he even had the throughtfulness to let Benzema take the penalty which brought up the 4-0. He, just like everyone else, was hoping that Karim would put the spot-kick away, which he did.
Benzema, Bale and Theo improving
Benzema deserved to score, for having put in a bright and enthusiastic display. He set up the first two goals – one for Cristiano and another for Bale; the latter, after dispossessing Alexis in the midfield. Like with Bale, being temporarily relegated to the bench has done him the world of good. Just like Benzema, Bale showed more enthusiasm yesterday than he had in recent games, in which he looked a little disinterested. It was a happy return for the bbC, although it must be stressed that they did not play in their usual pattern – but with Cristiano and Benzema as the central pair and Bale supplying them balls from the left in a sort of 4-4-2 set-up. And by the way, the best player on the pitch was Lucas Vázquez, over on the right-hand flank.
In any case, Madrid are full of optimism with the Paris trip edging closer. The players are getting back into the swing of things – and that includes Theo, who has been a little off the pace lately but looked more like the great player he was last season. Alavés meanwhile, gave as good as they got in the first half, and could have taken the lead only for Pedraza’s wonderful effort to be matched by an equally superb save from Keylor. The two goals they conceded in the first half took the wind out of their sails. They are immersed in a very different battle in this league campaign and it showed once they were trailing by a couple of goals. While Madrid’s minds were on Paris, Alavés were thinking about Levante, who they play host to on Thursday. In the great scheme of things, that really is their big day.