International

Madrid seek derby comeback

2015-02-13 10:47
Real Madrid (AFP)

Madrid - European champions Real Madrid may still lead La Liga, but an air of crisis has enveloped the club after they were torn apart by local rivals Atletico Madrid in a 4-0 defeat last weekend.

Negative press headlines followed not only due to the manner of the defeat, but the timing of a party held by Cristiano Ronaldo to celebrate his 30th birthday along with some of his teammates just hours after the match.

Ronaldo's form on the field is also of concern for the Madrid hierarchy: the Portuguese has scored just three times in six matches since picking up the third Ballon d'Or of his career last month and was also sent-off for kickout out at Cordoba defender Edimar during that run.

Indeed there are fears that the patella tendon injury in his left knee that affected his performances towards the end of last season and most notably at the World Cup could have flared up once more.

Club president Florentino Perez held a meeting with the players and coach Carlo Ancelotti on Monday to tell them in no uncertain terms that their performance at the Vicente Calderon was unbefitting of the 10-time European champions.

However, defeat to Atletico could also prove a turning point in Madrid's season just as it did at the start of the campaign.

After losing two of their first three league games, Madrid travelled to face Depor under a similar cloud only to romp to an 8-2 victory which helped spark a club record 22-game winning run.

Los Blancos are still blighted by injuries with Sami Khedira becoming the latest casalty to join Sergio Ramos, Pepe, James Rodriguez and Luka Modric on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.

However, left-back Marcelo will return from suspension and there could be a debut for Brazilian midfielder Lucas Silva, who joined from Cruzeiro last month.

Just as Real Madrid have faltered, Barcelona have hit their best form of the season so far with 10 consecutive wins to move to within a point of their eternal rivals at the top of the table and 90 minutes of reaching the Copa del Rey final.

The Catalans took their tally to 37 goals in that run with a 3-1 win over Villarreal in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday and will confident of more goals when Levante visit the Camp Nou on Sunday.

Barca won the corresponding fixture 7-0 on the opening day of last season and also stuck five past Levante when they met earlier in the season.

Atletico have had a week off to bask in their derby glory, but will need to keep their winning streak in the league going to maintain their title defence when they travel to Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Spanish international Koke will be sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring injury, but Diego Godin is set to play with a protective mask after breaking his nose early in the derby last weekend.

Elsewhere, Valencia, Sevilla and Villarreal will be confident of picking up three points in their battle for fourth place against the struggling Cordoba, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano respectively.

Read more on:    real madrid  |  la liga  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Do you think SAFA made the right choice in appointing Stuart Baxter as head coach of Bafana Bafana?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.