The juggernaut rolls on. Earlier I wrote here that we are watching a different brand of football from Real Madrid. Brand, that is typical of Jose Mourinho's style.
This Madrid team is different from other teams he has managed so far. This is a team that loves to play an entertaining brand of football. This is a club, where fans demand football of highest quality and they have the ammunition for that. Jose understood that changing the clubs' playing style would be catastrophe for his career at Madrid. Mere winning the La Liga or even the UCL doesn't matter here. At Madrid you are bound to produce ‘something’ more than that. You are bound to entertain.
Jose didn’t tinker with that aspect. What he infused is an instinct that was missing with these present crops of players - to see off your opponents when you’re not playing at your best.
We have seen umpteenth time this season Madrid coming from behind and winning it. We have also seen Madrid grinding out results when playing badly. Yet, romanticism attached with the White brand has never ceased. This brings to mind of a style similar to Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool in 2008/09, with Xabi Alonso the ‘common denominator’.
Last evening, Vallecano were the better side of the two. Even Jose admitted they deserved something out of the game. The Portuguese said “The Lightning did not deserve to lose, we all agree, not be with those who say we did not do a good game. Now, the draw would have been more just because the opponent was fantastic.”
They covered sufficient grounds and made life difficult for Madrid. The only thing they lacked is tact to unlock the Los Blancos defence. They took attack as their own form of defence and troubled Madrid on more than one occasions going forward with Diego Costa on fire tormenting Ramos and Pepe throughout the first half.
Alonso suffocated by relentless pressure in the middle, Ozil and Kaka virtually ineffective and Khedira unable to impose any sort of authority that required more of craftsmanship and imagination than physical presence.
But Los Merengues does not need to play well to win. They only need one moment of sublime inspiration and pure magic.
Remember that night? How Guti broke Deportivo jinx with an outrageous back-heel? Or how he blindfolded did a 'taconazo' against Sevilla? Guti was gone, but romanticism persists - in one form or the other. Cristiano Ronaldo invented a magic heel that broke the deadlock leaving the Lightning an Everest to climb without oxygen.
The powerful 'satin-heels' of Ronaldo would rank one of the best goals of this season. But it will be remembered because it was a match winning goal.
Ronaldo admitted "I have to watch the video to see if it is the best of my career. It's nice, back, heel. It is very nice, but more important is the three points. I had never scored a goal well-heeled."
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola finally admitted that the title race is over despite Barcelona beating Athletico Madrid at the Calderon by 2-1, thanks to another sublime piece of artistry from the Argentine Messi. The gap is now closed to 10 points, but it is a bridge too far to close. Title is sealed more or less; Madrid can now steadily focus on their quest for 10th European Cup…
Follow Saikat Mandal on twitter @Saikat_SAnchor