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Real Madrid: Playing the victim isn't a good look


One problem that us madrileños tend to have is that we think everything that happens in Madrid affects the whole of Spain and nothing that goes on outside the capital should be of interest to us. That explains why Real Madrid were so utterly convinced on Friday that it would be impossible to play in Pamplona. Since the snowfall in Madrid was going to be historic, there was no way it couldn’t also be in Navarre. Hence their willingness to assume the game was destined to be called off, without getting the right information from Pamplona itself. The belief was apparent in Zinedine Zidane’s pre-match press conference. They were sure they’d be travelling for nothing.

Zidane and Courtois' complaints didn't hold up

But the game went ahead and, after it ended in a draw, Zidane blamed the playing surface - a gripe that didn’t quite hold up. The pitch was playable; the referee said it was and we could all see it with our own eyes. I was also taken aback by Thibaut Courtois’ claims that their take-off from Barajas airport was dangerous. If the plane took off, it’s because the pilot felt it was safe; no authority in the world would have been able to compel him to fly otherwise. It was safe to take off and the pitch was playable - that’s all there is to it. There are people whose job it is to make these types of decisions so that things work; they should be respected, particularly when they’ve made the right call.

Reminiscent of the Mourinho-era Real Madrid

I don’t like to see Madrid whining, conjuring up enemies and claiming they’re being picked on. I’ve always seen them as a club who seek to shun petty resentments, but something of that was lost under José Mourinho, who was brought in to fight off a Barcelona side who were bordering on perfection. It was during his tenure as boss that Madrid began to play the role of a club hounded by shadowy conspiracies, to the point where even UNICEF fell under suspicion. I thought all that had gone from the club with Mourinho's departure, but this weekend I got a renewed whiff of it. All because they had to play in Pamplona as it didn’t snow as heavily there as it did in Madrid.