March 11, 2010

Losers, rich, rich losers

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

Money can’t buy you championships. Just ask Real Madrid how they’re feeling right now and the answer could be something like: “Like losers, but rich, rich losers.”

Lyon came into the game with a 1-0 lead after taking the first leg 1-0 at home. Holding Real to a clean sheet is impressive enough, but walking into Madrid’s stadium and don’t falling at the highest level was even more impressive.

The game started off with the home side dominating, including a quick strike goal by Cristiano Ronaldo that split the wickets of French international keeper Hugo Lloris. I’m not saying it was a bad goal to let in, but when you’re playing the angle and trying to look bigger, maybe you shouldn’t keep the five hole vastly open.

Then, the turning points of the game happened. Two huge missed chances became what would doom Real. First Higuan deked the goalie but hit the post instead of a wide open net. Then, I’m sure anxious to undo his mistake from a few minutes earlier, Higuan took a shot on a two on one, instead of passing to Rondalo, who had an empty net, and horribly missed. Of course, Ronaldo, being the whiner he is, couldn’t help but yell at his teammate.

These were the two telling moments of what would happen in the second half, only we didn’t know that yet.

After the break Lyon came out with renewed vigor and intensity you’ll never see from a megabucks all-star squad; they played like a team that truly wanted to win it and weren’t just looking for individual achievements. After a few chances, Lyon were able to put one home and take a 2-1 lead on aggregate, but more importantly, they now had Real in a scenario where they needed two goals to advance.

The giants were punched in the nose and they didn’t know how to react. They simply weren’t used to being in a fist fight and for all their skills and class, they didn’t have the team experience and couldn’t help from doing what overpaid headcases do best, get emotional and whine about everything. From missed passes, poor challenges and questioning the refs, Real Madrid showed exactly why they’ll be sitting at home watching the Champions League quarterfinals: They’re not a true team.

I can’t help but think of what Cristiano Rondalo’s choice to leave Manchester United – who, comparatively, trounced AC Milan at Old Trafford 4-0 to advance 7-2 on aggregate. Don’t you think that Cristiano would love to have been part of that game instead of suffering in front of his home crowd at the Bernabeu. Had he stayed instead of chasing more money and potential chances at titles, the Red Devils might’ve advanced by an even higher margin.

And well, how about this for a big ol’ jinx: This game was supposed to be used as a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final, which is being hosted by Real.

4 Comments

  1. Liked your blog, Dan, and couldn’t agree more. Ronaldo maybe does wish he was still at OT, but, with Roon-aldo in top form, I doubt many miss him.

    Maybe we could lose some of the “hockey-isms”? “the five hole”, “deked the goalie”, “a wide open net” (soccer nets are always wide open), “a two on one”, “an empty net”- I could be forgiven for thinking I was reading about the Habs/Leafs; but I was glad to see “clean sheet”, and not “shut out”.

    Cheers,
    Jim

  2. Does Glen Sather run Real Madrid as well? Or do they have the same propensity of whizzing away money like the Rangers? Don’t know what went down in the clubhouse post-game, but can you imagine what any NHL team would have done if a player on their team showed them up like Ronaldo did when he put on his ” what the hell were you thinking when you didn’t pass it to me” look for the whole viewing world to see? (Was that someone’s mouthpiece on the colonoscopy…). Well blogged,D.

  3. By the way——- ignore that man behind the curtain(Jim Wilson), he’s just a frustrated Rangers fan(not the New York hockey ones either).
    G

  4. My brother and I love soccer. We always watch it and collect trading cards and other memorabilia too.

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