In what was supposed to be an emotional match at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid turned in to a tug of equally hostile minds as Real Madrid went nine points above city rivals Atletico Madrid with a thumping 3-0 away win. Cristiano Ronaldo scored from dead ball situations twice and was on the end of Gareth Bale assist in a brilliant display of counter-attacking football to complete his hattrick before being subbed off in the 82nd minute.
Manager Zinedine Zidane is delighted by the way his team has performed in this much heavily hyped away fixture.
It seems that Modric’s return has brought a positive influence on the team’s fresh strategies as the Croatian pulled up an impressive performance, coming back from injury. The 32 year old midfielder linked up in the midfield with the Spanish Isco Alcaron, who came of the bench and displayed a stunning display of clean and perfect football. The Spanish was crucial to Spain’s 2-2 draw against England in the World Cup qualifiers a few days back scoring the all important second goal as Spain settled for a draw. The young midfielder has been warming the bench for quite sometime with the presence of Toni Kroos and Casemiro in the squad, but it seems that he has finally given Zidane something to think about regarding his midfield options when the Frenchman would have a fully fit squad at his disposal.
Ronaldo on the other hand had a game which was good but for a variety of right and wrong reasons. The Portuguese came of the International break with a brace against Latvia and now he has made it five goals in two games for Madrid. His first half free kick saw it get deflected off Savic’s knee with Oblak diving too close.
Saul Niguez brought the 31-year old Real Madrid striker down in the penalty box and after Ronaldo slotted it past Jan Oblak, the Portuguese went to the cameras and celebrated in what has already been started touting as the “Thinker” celebration. Though it might have been misinterpreted by many, Ronaldo was referring to the earlier situation in the match where the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper presumably crossed the line while parrying the ball from his header.
According to Ronaldo that is, a point which the referees chose to overlook quite correctly.. It wasn’t like the three time Ballon d’Or winner isn’t used to playing in hostile atmosphere’s as in like the one at the Calderon but there was sheer hostility from both sides. And it was imminent and it essential for the him after the rough couple of days. He clearly had stated in an earlier press conference about his irritation with the media on building on small situations.
Nevertheless, Diego Simeone’s men will definitely be an unhappy lot which was very eminent from Koke’s post night interview. The Atletico player expressed his concerns over the penalty situation and claimed that they already knew how Zidane’s men would play in the game but “Direct Football” and exposing their fullbacks led to their defeat. Well, in the spirit of sport, this would make an extremely strong fuel for Simeone when he will come back for the return clash at the Santiago Bernabau.
With the Estadio Olimpico de Madrid slated to be Atletico’s new home stadium starting this summer, the last Madrid derby in the stadium which has held quite a few memories and thousands of loyal Atletico fans did not get what they wanted. A 9-point lag behind their city rivals will leave them with a considerable amount of work to be done in the further games.
As for Real Madrid, Zidane’s men play Barcelona in the much awaited first ‘El Clasico’ of the Season. After silencing the hostile Atletico fans at their home ground, what is left to be seen is what, Ronaldo will do when he goes to the very stadium which goes above any level of hostility. On the contrary the Portuguese will also face his childhood side Sporting Lisbon, in the Champions League group fixture in mid week.
Will we see his “The Thinker” celebration at the Nou Camp on December 3?