The build up to the game was all coming from the Valencia side. There were refereeing problems midweek at the Santiago Bernabeu and Valencia felt hard-done by them but as was reported by Radio Marca before the match and Madrid looked to be extremely motivated in practice. Barcelona had lost in San Sebastian against Real Sociedad after leading 0-2 and the usual din of criticism from the press had subsided somewhat, caused in no small part by the media exile that Mssr. Mourinho had imposed on himself. Real Madrid were quiet coming into the match and when that happens they can be scary.
The first goal sprang from a failed corner by Los Che. Banega failed to lock up Ozil who showed his class and creativity all night and fed Di Maria on the wing who was all alone on goal. It looked like he might try his luck but in an uncharacteristic bit of charity he passed to his countryman Gonzalo Higuain for the first goal. Six minutes in. It would not go well for Valencia. There were calls from the Valencia defense that Ozil’s ball was offside but on replay it wasn’t even close. In fact, if Fernando Gago had paid any more attention to Di Maria and not raising his hand imploring the linesman to rule in their favor, he might have helped a bit more on goal; it’s one of my pet peeves in watching these matches. Play the man and not the ref. The second goal was again, a testament to Ozil’s vision as a player and Real Madrid’s exacting runs. Barcelona might have more elaborate geometries in their passing, but when Real Madrid is at their best they are like watching a precision sports-car take a turn; not a wasted pass or shot on goal.
At this point it seemed that Valencia were running on molasses. Cristiano scored a Sunday walk in the park goal, a mental error by keeper Diego Alves who barely covered the near-post, and the rout was on. By the time the dust cleared, the second half a long ways away, Real Madrid had put a manita as they say in Spain, a fell empty palm of goals. Two goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria both to go with Higuain’s and Mesut Ozil the man of the match in my opinion who had a hand in four of the five goals.
It means nothing really, the league is far and away Barcelona’s, but this is the first time I have seen the rampant Real Madrid of 100 points from last year. No one is saying that this automatically discounts the problems that are still lurking in the dressing room, on the practice pitch and in the media, but they can build on this. They won’t face this sort of sluggish opponent all the time. Teams won’t play the kind of high-line with no pressure that los che naively set against los blancos, but it’s a good start.
Transfer News: it is doubtful that the club will buy or sell in January. Kaka is likely to stay until the summer. They won’t trade Iker Casillas to United for David de Gea. They won’t buy Cortois off Chelsea and Luka Modric is not leaving after only a few months in Madrid. It is always said that adapting to a new league is difficult but it is doubly so for players to adapt to a league like Spain where technical ability is paramount. More news to come.