Although, Real Madrid came up short midweek against Juventus in Turin, few would bet against them overcoming the Old Lady in the Bernabéu. As lackluster as the performance may have been, Madrid are a different proposition on their home turf and will be out to silence the doomsayers.
There’ll also be players who’ll have points to prove in the return leg. Welsh winger, Gareth Bale will be out to right some wrongs, as he has recently come under a barrage of criticism during his second season in Madrid. After Tuesday’s game, ex-Manchester United legend, Roy Keane branded his career with the Spanish giants as a failure so far according to The People’s Person. This was met by a strong rebuttal from Bale’s agent Jonathan Barrett as he countered the criticism with: “Gareth won’t take notice of failed managers.”
Another player, who will need to silence the boo-boys, is Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos who made an untimely mistake that led to one of the Italian side’s goals in the Semi Final of the Champions League. It’s not the first time Ramos has faced adversity and won’t be the last.
The sign of a “great side” is arguably the ability to overcome roadblocks – in this instance: Juventus. The Madrid faithful will no doubt get behind their side in the return leg, and help inspire the likes of Bale, Ramos, Ronald and co to a second successive Champions League final. Injuries permitting, Madrid should be able to field a full strength team – Luka Modric and Karim Benzema who both missed the first leg in Turin should return to the side.
It would be a foolish man to bet against Madrid. Ancellotti is one of the best coaches to ever grace the game with his tactical know-how, and he also has a point to prove. There’s an argument that the Champions League is potentially the only thing that will save him from unemployment if Madrid lose out on the La Liga title to fierce rivals Barcelona.
So, although there seems to be a lot of rumours swirling around that there could already be possible shuffles in the Madrid ranks in the summer, the focus is still very much on the now, as opposed to the future. Leading betting and news portal Betfair reported that Bale could potentially return to the Premier League in time for next season but for now Bale will have his mind set on Champions League progression.
With all the variables mentioned in this article, it will be intruiging to see how the second leg plays out. Will Madrid steam role the best Juventus side since Zidane played for the Old Lady? Could this be one of the most entertaining Champions Leagues ties of the modern era? Will Bale and Ramos step up to the plate and rediscover their form? Will the world of football get the final they want: Real Madrid vs Barca? Or more appropriately: Ronaldo vs Messi!