Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Win is a Win

So there are many who look back at our win over Zenit in St. Petersburg in a negative light. We took the lead on a classic RVN 'fox-in-the-box' goal.... and shortly after that we proceeded to defend. We spent the entire second half on the backfoot, defending from one wave after another of Zenit's attacks. We miraculously left the game with all three points and Zenit with no points in 2 games. By the time the game was over, I felt relievsed but admittedly, like most Madridistas, a feeling of disappointment from how we pulled off the win.
After much pondering however, I actually have to say I'm happy with the win.
-It was Real Madrid's first away win in the Champions League in almost 2 years
-It was against Zenit St. Petersburg - who count Bayern Munich, and Manchester United among their European scalps.
-It was the first time I've seen the team spend 45 mins. with 11 men behind the ball to pull off a very un-Real Madrid-like win: something that tells me that we as a team, have stepped out beyond our usual notion of having to beat everyone by merely attacking them. Most of the time, for opponents like Zenit however, such a mentality / philosophy has always resulted in us heading back home with our tails between our legs.
So, let me say this now after looking at the situation retrospectively: a win is a win, and perhaps we Madridistas should not think of our team as the team to beat. Perhaps we and the rest of the world should stop looking at this particular game as a matter of Zenit possibly nicking a win against us and counting us among their scalps: it is us who should think of counting them as among ours.... after all, this was exactly the type of game that we were incapable of winning: and here we are with 6 points from 2 games in the Champions League... with only half of our midfield line intact. I'd say this was a darn good result considering the circumstances.
We're playing Espanyol at the Bernabeu in a few hours... I'm now totally hoping for a good performance with a convincing scoreline to put some comfort back into the hearts of all Madridistas... we especially need a good win after Barca's thrashing of Athletico...


  1. If you put the win in context, everyone will agree that it was a good team win.

    But, we don't expect Real to win a game by defending a one goal lead right? I think most of the fans are still caught in the web that Del Bosque wove when he was in charge. Most of them remember Real as a team - as Roberto Carlos put it - that scores one more than the opponent. We cannot accept Real as a team that wins ugly. Isn't that what we've been craving for the past 2 years? Like I said if you put it in context, 3 first team midfielders out years, no away win in CL for 2 years, Russian opponents have always been tough and finally Zenit is no push-over.

  2. 3 first team midfielders out injured, typo!

  3. That's exactly my point... Roberto Carlos' words represented this idyllic utopia of RM being this supreme footballing machine that put teams to the sword at their whim. And it is this naive outlook that has likely been the reason why we haven't won away in the CL for 2 years prior to the Zenit win and why we haven't gone past the first elimination round in the tournament for so many seasons already: because we only know how to play one way. We only play to entertain.

    Yes indeed, Real Madrid are the greatest football club on the planet because it is only they who were able to achieve this. But let's not forget that Del Bosque's team had Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, Raul and R. Carlos: then unquestionably the greatest footballers alive at the time. If we had the 2008 equivalent of that team then perhaps... perhaps we could dream of that.

    What this win represents though, is character, grit and determination... after years in the doghouse of the CL, we're showing sings that were just might make it further than the last 16. I guess, for me, before I begin fantasizing again about 'Champagne Football', I'd like to see some silverware first. If anything, I do think that this is a much more attractive team to watch as compared to Capello's.

    I know that to play well is important for RM (and that winning is 'merely' a 'formal requisite')... and that is why we truly believe that Real Madrid are the greatest football club on the planet. But the last years in the club and in the world of football have changed a lot of things and this is not how RM is anymore and it's sad in a way. But what I'd like to look at is that we are winning again... we are on our way back. And I truly believe that with the players we have, with the team we have, the 'Champagne Football' will soon come.

    Thanks for the comment btw, I've included you in my bloglist! Keep the comments coming...

  4. I can't believe a Real supporter like me would say this, but even if it means we have to play 'dirty' football to win a champions league, I would take it, like the capello season maybe, just to change things and restore a sense of normalcy to the world of football with us and spain on top. Hala Madrid, nice writing by the way :)