José Mourinho coached his 100th game for the club. Cristiano Ronaldo scored two more goals to remain at the top of the Pichichi race. They had a celebrity guest at the Santiago Bernabeu in Zac Efron, dropping condoms no less! (OK, he learned his lesson and didn’t drop condoms this time, but he was at the Bernabeu). They celebrated by winning their 10th consecutive away match in a season against Real Betis, a record no team in La Liga has ever achieved before. (And before I am questioned, yes, Barcelona did it, but they did it over two seasons.) Real Madrid celebrated it by Ronaldo scoring against the only top flight team he had never scored against in La Liga. Finally and, to many, most importantly, they celebrated by advancing in the Champions League. Winning!
110 years of club history is significant, perhaps even more so in Spain. During those 110 years, Spain was involved in a civil war that killed over 350,000 Spaniards. Two World Wars occurred, assassinations were made, dictators rose and fell, and a king helped the way to democracy. Spain, like so many countries today, is facing staggering unemployment and harsh economic strife. But that’s enough of a history lesson…the one thing that nearly all Spaniards can agree on is football. They certainly don’t agree on which team - they are passionate about their teams of choice - but La Liga as a whole is exhibiting a defined strength.
The quarterfinals of the Champions League include one French team, one German team, one Portuguese team, one English team, one Cypriot team (congratulations Apoel F.C.) and one Italian team. But two Spanish teams remain dominant. They are the favorites and the heavyweights – Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Europa League is also littered with Spanish teams, including a surprising Athletic Bilbao who defeated Premier League leading Manchester United at Old Trafford. [And this writer is seriously hoping Athletic Bilbao takes United down when they face them in Spain.]
The anniversary celebrations for Real Madrid will likely continue throughout the year. They are on the brink of some significant achievements, but regardless of their on the pitch achievements, at 110 years and going strong – life is good for Madrid and they are most certainly winning!
A.J. Nelson can be found on Twitter @FootieObsessed