Whisper it quietly, but an historic quadruple is on the cards for Real Madrid this season.
Nobody at the Santiago Bernabéu will mention it just yet, but on the eve of Los Blancos’ Copa del Rey quarter-final clash against Real Sociedad, success on all four fronts looks a real possibility.
Wish the Spanish Super Cup already wrapped up in Jeddah in January and with Zinedine Zidane’s men leading the way in LaLiga, there is a real sense that Madrid can do something special this season – just a matter of months after fans wondered if their side could win anything at all in a transitional season in the Spanish capital.
Madrid’s derby success over Atlético highlighted Madrid’s confidence and steel, as well as Zidane’s tactical nous. That, coupled with Barcelona’s struggles on and off the pitch, have made Madrid favourites for the title. There is, of course, a long way to go.
There have been steady signs of improvement throughout the campaign. Goals have hardly been free-flowing but Madrid’s defence has been watertight. A strong defence has rarely been a hallmark of Real Madrid sides but Madrid are winning thanks to a stubborn backline. Zidane’s men can scoring knowing they can hold out for the victory.
A 21-match unbeaten run that stretches back to October has brought confidence. Most of that stretch has been without star summer signing Eden Hazard, who is due to return in Thursday’s cup clash against La Real.
The Copa too has been given priority in its new format – it’s the only trophy Zidane has not won as Madrid coach.
The Champions League may be where the real difficulties lie ahead for Madrid but with experience and an ever-growing confidence, few would now bet against them to clinch an history quadruple this season. Just don’t shout it from the rooftops just yet – Zidane certainly won’t be.