Two contrasting sides of football. On the one hand, Real Madrid, recently-crowned LaLiga champions, Champions League finalists, radiant and full of the joys of Spring, enjoying their football and scoring freely. And on the other hand, a side which had not won the last 27 games, who travelled to the Bernabéu with the threat of relegation hanging over their heads and written all over their faces. While they have mustered a reaction in recent weeks it was too little, too late. To avoid the drop, they needed three good results, starting with an unlikely win at the Bernabéu. They seemed a little indifferent up until Mendy rifled in the first goal on 12 minutes. After that, it was game over, and they shut up shop. They committed their first foul on 36 minutes, had just one yellow card and lost 6-0.
It was really tragic to see them in tears on the final whistle, approaching the away section to beg forgiveness from the travelling supporters - around 300 die-hard fans who had made the trip to Madrid dreaming of the impossible. Ancelotti, the gentleman that he is, came onto the pitch to shake their hands by way of consolation. Everyone in football knows how tough relegation is - they also know that in other circumstances, it could happen to them. There but for the grace of God… It was heartbreaking to hear José Luis Morales El Comandante, destroyed and embarrassed at the end. Players are not mercenaries, at least most of them aren’t. They feel exactly the same as the fans do.
Madrid respected them by doing what they needed to do - play like they know best. There is no better form of respect than that. So they continued to put the ball away - six goals in total, three from Vinicius, one from Benzema - with which he equals Raúl in Madrid’s all-time ranking. As Ancelotti confirmed, those who rested against Atlético were given more playing time. In the next match, against Cádiz, those who started at the Metropolitano will get a run-out and on the last day, against Betis, he will field the XI which will take on Liverpool in the Champions League final. It’s about keeping everyone fresh and alert - not overanxious or bored, and in good shape. Madrid’s minds are focused on Paris, Levante’s, in a difficult rebuilding process with the idea of returning to top flight football as soon as possible. Two contrasting sides of football.