For all the money they have spent and all the success they have had in the last ten years, one thing has always eluded Real Madrid: their tenth European title. However, many have come to believe that this year’s Real Madrid side are as strong as ever. Here are five reasons why they can claim the ultimate crown - the UEFA Champions League - this season:
They Have Ronaldo
To put it purely and simply, they have the best player in the world on current form. His performances against Sweden in the World Cup playoffs showed his ability to perform in the big games, which is something he has done regularly since he became a starter at Manchester United.
Add Ronaldo with Gareth Bale and that equals a wing attack that cannot be rivaled in world football. The pair have rarely played together this season, but when they have, it has been terrifying for the opposition. Along with Ronaldo and Bale is Jese, who is arguably good enough to play in any side in Europe.
Still, even without Ronaldo, Madrid are a formidable outfit. In their last two La Liga games without the Portuguese, they have won by an aggregate score of 7-2 against Villarreal and Getafe.
Karim Benzema’s Form
Since becoming the main man in the attack, Karim Benzema has really started to step up at Real Madrid. With 18 goals in all competitions this season, he is turning into the forward that was predicted at Lyon. Now he is taking his chances, which was one criticism that had haunted him regularly during his first few seasons with Real Madrid.
Forget Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema or any other Real player you care to think of. The real star of the Real Madrid team is Luka Modric. The Croatian international has established himself as Real Madrid regular this season, and he has been arguably the most in-form player on the team.
His average pass accuracy of 90% is a good indication of the sort of season he has been having. If he carries his current form into the Champions League knockout stages, he will dominate most games. That can only equal success in a continent where the midfield wins football matches.
They Are the Only Side Capable of Beating Bayern
The open expansive attacking football that Real Madrid play is an equal match for Bayern’s style. Bayern may have become complacent after breezing through the season, therefore when faced with Real Madrid attacking prowess, they may be powerless to deal with velocity of it all.
Furthermore, most of the Real Madrid team is familiar with Pep Guardiola. If they can expose his weak points, Real have a real chance at beating Bayern.
Their Last 16 Game is a Stern Test
Should they beat Schalke in their last 16 game, Real Madrid will go into the rest of the tournament in a very strong position. Their German opponents will be no pushovers after having a brilliant start to the Bundesliga since the winter break.
Schalke have won their last four in the league under Jens Keller, and they only look to be getting stronger as time goes on. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has returned to great avail, and Kevin Prince Boateng has impressed in the midfield.
They also have some talented youngsters coming through. Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka have stepped up in recent weeks in the absence of Julian Draxler, with the former arguably performing even better than Draxler.
It is difficult to look past Bayern, but if any other side is going to win the Champions League, it has to be Real Madrid. With their entire squad fit and on top form, there are very few sides that are better. Add all the reasons along with the fact that Carlo Ancelotti is manager, and there is a good argument that Real can finally win “La Decima.”