Resignation rather than outrage – that has been the reaction of Real Madrid fans after a disastrous week that brought down the White House of La Liga
There’s a strange beauty in watching a big building being demolished. It’s horrific for the people attached to the place, with plenty of memories and events linked to such a venue and that unavoidable sadness invading your whole body.
But once the dynamite barrels start exploding and the whole thing comes down, it’s nothing short of mesmerizing. Particularly if you’ve seen the whole set-up for weeks before pressing the red button.
We could actually compare Real Madrid to this big building in ruins. It eventually had to come down at some point. And Ajax were merciless and clinical in both placing the barrels and then exploding the hell out of a carcass of a team.
Talking about the game itself is pretty unnecessary, as Ajax were 0-2 up in the first 20 minutes (Ziyech and Neres goals) and it was downhill from that point on. The fresh, young, talented Ajacied squad crushed the opposition in a former mighty ground which has been profaned time after time in the last few months. Ajax wanted it more, deserved it more and ultimately achieved moving on to the quarterfinals.
A disaster in the making
But there were so, so many warning signs pointing to this demise. For example, the disrespect shown by Sergio Ramos in the first leg after getting booked on purpose in order to be banned in the second leg and (theoretically) playing the quarterfinals with no yellow cards on his resume.
The captain truly believed Ajax were no match for them after the 1-2 in Amsterdam, and watched the debacle from his private VIP area box while his reactions were being filmed for his own Amazon documentary. That piece of film is, right now, the most anticipated premiere of 2019 for me.
In the first half an hour, both Lucas Vázquez and Vinicius Junior paid a high price for playing again and again and again as starters every three days. Both came down injured and had to leave the pitch, in Vinicius’ case, in tears. The Brazilian’s case was particularly tough on the team, as he had suddenly become a driving force (probably the only one) when attacking. If Real had any hopes of bouncing back after the 0-2, they vanished after Vini left the pitch.
Gareth Bale, our favourite golfer/footballer, came onto the pitch and was actually the only one to produce something positive, although his first-half shot went straight against the post. Beaten into submission and with wave after wave of Ajax chances, it was a matter of time that the away side delivered the killing blow. Asensio scored the 1-2, but soon Tadic scored a golazo (straight into the angle) and Schone sealed the deal in the 72nd minute.
Marcelo watched the team, the season and the whole club going off rails from the bench, where he has been a usual presence later in favour of a younger, more rowdy Sergio Reguilón. Who knows if this was the last Champions League game which the Brazilian has experienced as a Real Madrid player.
Ditto for Isco Alarcón, who wasn’t even on the sidelines: the player saw the debacle from the executive box, an outcast for Santiago Solari and with his mind more than made up about leaving Real Madrid this summer.
Once the game came to an end, the most alarming matter for Madridismo was the actual reaction of the fans in the stands. A 1-4 score and getting knocked out of the Champions League at home would’ve meant mayhem, chaos and a thunderous whistling spectacle twenty years ago.
Now, the fanbase took the hit with resignation. In only seven days, Real have been KOed in Copa del Rey, shooed away from the title race in LaLiga and demolished in Champions League. A negative ‘Triplete’ which can also be attributed to the man who pulls the strings behind curtains. Yes, Florentino Pérez, this is also your fault.