Sunday, 17 May 2015


The story of last week is undoubtedly Juventus' triumph over Real Madrid.

While Juve rarely take complete control of a game, it's very difficult to actually dominate against them. Real Madrid boasted a lineup full of star quality but were unable to put the less-fancied Juventus away after taking the lead. Starting the game with a front line assembled for just under £200 million, Real Madrid were ultimately undone by a product of their academy.

Allegri has at his disposal a very balanced team with a mixture of flair players, energetic runners and masterful game-readers, and used it to full effect against the defending European Champions to take a big step towards emulating Jose Mourinho's achievements with Inter 5 years ago.

Alvaro Morata
Deal With It (Image credits: 101 great goals)

Alvaro Morata's strike was particularly damaging to Real's season given the home draw against Valencia days earlier that saw them fall 4 points behind Barcelona. While Atletico Madrid are more than capable of producing a performance on their day, it's highly unlikely that Barcelona, in the form they're in, will let their lead slip with two games to go.

A season without major trophies at the Bernabeu often means big changes in the summer. Gareth Bale's Real Madrid career could be in jeopardy, particularly if Ancelotti does not remain as manager. He's often been singled out for criticism this season by Real fans even when others failed as well. Bale's fans will argue that he was at least trying to make a nuisance of himself while Ronaldo was more or less absent. But that's not how Real fans will see it - In this club, the crowd's favourites are quickly exonerated while the perceived interlopers are constantly under the microscope.

Not that Bale objectively has anything to prove to anyone. Last season, he scored the winner in an El Clasico cup final with a flash of brilliance, and put Real in the lead in the Champions League final. He has 17 goals for Real in this 'terrible' season. He would walk into the starting lineup of any Premier League side. There's no point in sticking around to prove a point, and there is no shame in leaving if it isn't meant to be. Others have chosen to move out of the club and they haven't exactly wilted.

Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder
No Spain, No Pain

The fans at Anfield were fantastic, putting the result quickly behind them to orchestrate a rousing farewell for Steven Gerrard. The result itself, however, mathematically put Liverpool out of Champions League football next season. The club messed it up by doing a Tottenham - spending the Suarez money on a bunch of decent players instead of snaring a world class replacement. It will probably be years before they're playing in the Champions League again.

They have to hope that in sending off their talismanic captain, they aren't seeing off the last memory of the days when they used to mix it with the best.

Steven Gerrard glory

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