The league title for Real Madrid ended some while ago and one could point to the December defeat at home to Barcelona as the defining moment of the season for the Bernabeu side. Cristiano Ronaldo missed the opening games of the campaign and when he returned to action he was uncharacteristically negligent in front of goal. The other goal outlet, Karim Benzema also had a barren spell in front of the target as Barcelona slowly pulled well clear at the summit of LaLiga. Zidane's men were eliminated in the Copa del Rey and the main source of focus for the club became exclusively the Champions League. The next obstacle in the quest for third successive European win are The Old Lady of Italian football Juventus.
I'm looking forward to this Madrid-Juventus tie. It could be seen as a battle of two different footballing ideologies. There was a time when ‘calcio’ was generally perceived as being a negative, even ugly way of playing the game. At the same time the game in Spain is a fusion of influences with some teams mixing a style of play that uses the long ball, is possession based or zonal. Over the past decade or so Spanish teams have been successful in European competition given the notable influence of foreign players, coaches and styles that have been employed buy our clubs involved in the Champions and Europa League competitions.
These contrasting styles traditionally associated with both nations football cultures came to me ahead of tonight's game in Turin. I stand to be corrected of course but feel Madrid are better equipped heading into the first leg of the two legged affair. It's not been an easy season for the Bernabeu outfit whilst Juventus have had an easier ride domestically and would appear to be on track to claim a seventh consecutive Sucdetto despite the Bianconeri being the team that everyone wants to beat in Serie A and pressure from Napoli. I feel there is less variation in Italian football than is displayed in the domestic Spanish league and this is reinforced by our sides reaching the latter stages of the big competitions. The bulk of the finest players are at LaLiga and I'm not just looking at Cristiano or Lionel Messi.