Real Madrid have a big chance of winning the Champions League for the third time in a row and here is why.
Real Madrid are on the surge for an unprecedented third Champions League crown in three years, having once again advanced to the quarter-finals of the competition. The Spanish giants have been poor in La Liga but have proven yet again that they are made for the big stage – the Champions League.
Zinedine Zidane’s side are already out of the title race in La Liga, with Barcelona opening a 15-point lead against the defending league champions at the top of the table. However, they have been unstoppable in Europe with Paris Saint-Germain being their latest victims.
Real Madrid’s form prior to the last 16 clash against the French giants raised many questions as to whether they could withstand the attacking strength of Unai Emery’s side. To the surprise of many, the European champions made light work of the Parisians by coasting to a 5-2 aggregate win.
The win over PSG was impressive but, the manner in which it was achieved, over two legs, highlighted the fact that Real Madrid are still very much the team to beat in Europe.
Now, here are four reasons why Zidane’s men could be celebrating a third straight Champions League title at the end of the season.
#4 Real Madrid’s form in the Champions League
Many have criticized Real Madrid’s poor showing in La Liga this season, however, Los Blancosare a totally different proposition in Europe. In six Champions League group games, Zidane’s charges lost just once – against Tottenham Hotspur – but have since risen from strength to strength.
Real Madrid have won each of their last four games in the competition, scoring an impressive 14 goals in the process. That rich vein of form has seen the defending champions dispatch Borussia Dortmund and the much-fancied PSG, pushing the former into the Europa League whilst ending the latter’s dream in the Champions League at the last 16 stage.
Currently, the club is in the best shape possible and their form means they can go all the way to make more history in the Champions League. For a side that has won the competition back-to-back already, there is nothing this crop of Real Madrid players have not seen and their continuous improvement once again makes them favourites.
#3 The Ronaldo factor
There is no doubt that Real Madrid’s good fortunes in the Champions League have been aided by the form of the talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star has been the driving force of this Real Madrid team and has often dug them out whenever they find themselves in a hole.
Ronaldo became just the second player in the history of the Champions League to score in nine consecutive games after netting against PSG in the second-leg game – the first being Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The 33-year-old is also the top scorer in the competition this season with 12 goals from just eight games. It is, therefore, fair to say that Real Madrid almost start every game knowing they are a goal up when the former Manchester United forward is in the starting line-up.
Ronaldo has played a key role in Madrid’s last three Champions League triumphs, with his goals helping Los Blancos to down even the most stubborn oppositions. It looks like he has picked form at the right moment as the club aims to rule over Europe once again. On a good day, the Portugal international is simply unplayable and his current form gives Madrid an edge over their rivals.
#2 The Champions League remains Madrid’s only chance of silverware
It takes a lot of motivation and zeal to win the Champions League and fortunately Real Madrid have a lot of that in their locker room. The La Liga champions are no longer in contention for the Spanish league title after falling a whopping 15 points behind rivals Barcelona. Also, the club is out of the Copa del Rey which completes their miserable domestic form this season.
This means Zidane and his men are now left with just a single route to silverware and that is the Champions League. Both the players and the club’s hierarchy would not want to endure a trophy-less season after the successes they chalked last season. As a result, Los Blancos will be more determined to clinch the Champions League trophy to make up for their domestic failures.
They may have conquered Europe for two successive years, but Madrid have no other choice than to repeat their heroics one more time or risk ending the season trophyless.
#1 Rival clubs have not looked convincing
In as much as there are at least four other clubs that are serious contenders for this season’s Champions League, Real Madrid still stand in a league of their own. This is because the holders are the only club that have truly been tested in the knockout round of this season’s competition. The 5-2 aggregate win over PSG was a real statement and the rest of Europe would definitely have already taken notice.
That, coupled with the unconvincing output of their rivals in Europe, gives Los Blancos a huge chance of going for the ultimate. Barcelona and Bayern Munich look like the closest sides that can rival Real Madrid. However, the Blaugrana’s performance against an out-of-form Chelsea suggests they are very beatable.
Bayern may also have romped to a heavy win over Besiktas in the last 16 first-leg, but that cannot be considered as a real test. The German giants cannot be ruled out of challenging for the Champions League title but their biggest test this season was against PSG – a side Madrid easily beat – and although they beat Unai Emery’s side 3-1 at the Allianz Arena, they equally lost heavily at the Parc des Princes.
Real Madrid will not have it easy winning a third Champions League trophy in a row, but the unconvincing performances of their European rivals puts them in a good position to lay claim to the title once again.
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