Real Madrid have been facing a horrendous season so far, with an awful standing in the La Liga and a recent knockout from the Copa Del Rey. The team seems to be in a perpetual state of recovery, and their recent first leg 3-1 win over PSG is certainly a silver lining.
Despite all this, it is very likely that Los Blancos could go on to secure the UEFA Champions League title for the third year in a row, and here are 5 reasons why:
1. Resurgent Ronaldo
The Portuguese genius has come under heavy fire this season for a dismal series of performances, particularly in La Liga, where he has found the back of the net only 12 times in 19 appearances. However, the 33-year-old has seen a resurgence of form that will be very hopeful for his supporters.
In fact, when compared to last season, where he saw a return to form more or less at the same time, and the season ended with him grabbing 12 goals in 13 Champions League appearances, and went on to lead Madrid to the title, this year seems to be going on a similar track.
Add to that the fact that in the European competition, he has already scored 11 goals in a mere 7 appearances, Madrid’s case appears strong.
2. No Need To Worry About La Liga
With Barcelona sailing 17 points strong in the lead and Madrid stuck in a 3rd place battle with Valencia, it is fair to say that the La Liga title can be completely written off for the Galacticos. However, this should be seen as a blessing in disguise.
Usually, Real Madrid are battling for both domestic and European silverware at this point in the season, and this poses great challenges to their pursuits. However, now that the league won’t be competing for their attention, Zidane’s lads can focus solely on the Champions League and channel all their efforts to succeed there.
3. Champions League History
With 12 titles to their name, and after emerging victorious for two years in a row, with the latter being an unprecedented feat, Madrid is the team most suited for the competition.
What makes them most challenging to compete against is the ruthless fashion in which they go about securing the leg-based ties. PSG face an uphill task after the 3-1 defeat, and they aren’t the first European giants to be treated as such by Madrid.
This experience will be a vital factor why, regardless of their underdog stature at the moment, Madrid are most likely to come out on top.
4. The Ascent of Asensio
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder has already made headlines this season, and is certainly a big money transfer waiting to be made. But what is of more importance is the fashion in which he has been functioning as of recent.
During the PSG leg, he was brought on as a substitute, but for the 13 minutes he was on the pitch, he functioned as the finest presence in the game, and that is saying something considering the firepower on show. His role was paramount in the two late goals, particularly that of Marcelo, to which he provided a direct assist.
This, combined with his standing tally of 8 goals and 5 assists, two of which came in the 5-3 triumph over Real Betis on Monday, make it a foregone conclusion, that the emerging Spaniard will be a key cog in Madrid taking home the glory.
5. Zidane Needs Silverware
Due to the competitive nature of the game, despite his past success, Zidane could face the sack if Madrid finish this season without any major silverware to their name. With La Liga out of the question, and the Copa Del Rey gone, the Champions League is the only familiar route remaining for the Frenchman to keep his job.
This pressure could work positively for him, and was evidently in effect in the PSG game, where Zidane lined his men in a manner that ensured minimum errors were made. He is clearly aware of the repercussions, and seems to be in no mood to go away.
With an impressive tally of two Champions League titles, a La Liga victory, a Spanish Super Cup triumph, as well as the laurel of the Club World Cup already on his managerial resume, he’ll be hungry for more.
The path won’t be easy, that is for certain, but Real Madrid certainly have the apt team for such a challenge, and one shouldn’t at all be surprised if the title comes home to the Bernabeu at the end of the season.