Of course, no one from the Santiago Bernabeu uttered those exact words, but that is always the general feeling when a superstar player is sidelined for a team, especially on the eve of a blockbuster clash. And that was the sensation the Casa Blanca were emanating, as if trying to motivate the rest of the squad by telling them this is their one chance to step up to the fore and steal the spotlight.
But no one did, and Ronaldo was indeed sorely missed. If anything, his absence displayed the same kind of problems
Kaka tried his hardest at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but every time he got past one opponent, he would stumble over at the second challenge. And the frustration on his face was there for all to see as the match progressed, annoyed at himself for failing to produce the kind of magic he is expected to.
Ronaldo also has that ability to make a rival’s entire rearguard back away when he gallops forward with the ball. Had he been on the pitch, Jesus Navas might have had to stay back and help out in defence. In turn, he may not have been afforded so many chances to bombard forward himself.
Also missing from the
But take nothing away from Sevilla for their hard work to secure a deserved 2-1 win.
Madrid's two other Galacticos, Xabi & Kaka, fail to inspire
The Andalucians are about as red hot as
Had it not been for the IFFHS Goalkeeper of the Year, Iker Casillas, who pulled off two superhuman reflex saves either side of the break – the second of which left team-mate Mahamadou Diarra literally gob smacked – the scoreline could have been much uglier.
Against any other opposition, any one of Ronaldo’s deputies on the night would have done enough to step in and help the team grind out a win. But Sevilla are not ‘any other opposition’.
The defeat raises a fascinating question for coach Manuel Pellegrini to ponder: how does he tailor a strategy to keep the
White House president Florentino Perez may be all-powerful when it comes to money, but unless he owns a human cloning machine to make duplicates of Ronaldo, then Pellegrini better engineer a game plan for those rare occasions when the most expensive player in the world is not available for selection.
KS Leong, Goal.com