Can the Striking Duo Put Los Blancos Back on track?


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MSN – (Messi-Neymar-Suarez) has been the talk of European football most of this season, with the relentless form Barcelona has carried most of this season before eventually losing out to Atletico Madrid in Champions League quarterfinals.

However, the Real Madrid duo of Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo has not been any inferior to the Barca triplet in any respect.

The Frenchman, Benzema has taken his tally of goals to 23 in mere 25 games while the mighty Ronaldo has netted 31 goals in 34 appearances to help Los Blancos maintain its third spot on La Liga table, only a point behind leaders Barcelona.

The last Gasp in La Liga

With the rise of Atletico Madrid since Simeone’s arrival, La Liga title has transformed into a three-horse title race. Currently, Barcelona sits atop La Liga table with 85 points, followed closely by Atletico, who are only lagging behind due to an inferior goal difference, in as many as 36 games.

Zidane XI comes in next at spot number three, bagging 84 points in as many games. The equation is crystal-clear; someone in Barcelona and Atletico will have to slip, as Gerrard did in Premier League during last season, in at least one of the last two fixtures, to put something on the table for Cristiano and co to munch on. Otherwise, La Liga is a lost cause for Madridistas.

Barcelona has shown glimpses of frustrations after being knocked out of UCL. In game 36 against Real Betis, Barca scored two goals after serious errors and some frustration. Real Madrid did manage to find a winner through Bale but the absence of Benzema and Ronaldo due to injury concerns is understandable in this context.

Madrid is next up against Valencia, which is the last team they want to face at this point. Los Blancos have drawn the last two fixtures against Valencia, which isn’t the kind of result that would earn them a shot at the title or make Zidane a content manager.

They face Deportiva in the last fixture of the La Liga season, and it won’t be too hard for either Ronaldo or Benzema to punish them like they did last time out with a 5-0 thrashing.

The Sole Genuine Hope

Madrid upheld a rock solid performance against Manchester City in the first leg of the semifinal in UCL. Although Ronaldo was benched and Benzema was taken off at half-time due to injury concerns, Real Madrid managed to hold off a serious City attack in Manchester.

The second leg will be City flying to Madrid where winning is as good as impossible. Real hasn’t lost a single home game in UCL this season. With the mammoth crowd that comes out to support the Los Blancos at home, it would be too much heat for City to handle.

Despite the semifinal seemingly a not-so-tough fixture, the actual challenge for Zidane XI is to make sure Ronaldo and Benzema are fit to play against the Sky Blues. Both the players have had injury concerns, and are still a doubt to some extent, in particular, the Frenchman, who has been ruled out of the City clash already.

More importantly, Ronaldo, who has netted 16 goals along with four assists in Champions League this season, is the man Zidane wants to be fit to feature against Sky Blues even if Benzema cannot play some ball.

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