Real Madrid 3 Galatasaray 0: Lessons learned as Los Blancos cruise
Real Madrid 3 Galatasaray 0: What lessons did we learn as Los Blancos took a giant stride towards the semi-finals?
Ronaldo keeps on Messi’s toes
After Lionel Messi opened the scoring for Barcelona on Tuesday night, Cristiano Ronaldo responded by inspiring Real Madrid to an impressive 3-0 first-leg win against Galatasaray. The Portugal star’s beautiful ninth-minute dink set the tone for what was a relatively comfortable evening for Jose Mourinho’s men. Karim Benzema capitalised on sloppy defending to make it two just before the half-hour mark, and Gonzalo Higuain wrapped up the win late on. Ronaldo’s goal was simply superb. Released by the talented Mesut Ozil, the Portugese winger showed why many insist he is the world’s best.
Alonso still oozes class
When you think of world-class Spanish midfielders, the pair that usually spring to mind are Barcelona’s Xavi and Andres Iniesta – but Xabi Alonso is just as good. Can anyone pick a pass like the bearded magician? His ball for Gonzalo Higuain’s goal was exquisite and he can change the game in the blink of an eye with his range of passing. We knew of his ability from his Liverpool days but he has blossomed since joining the Spanish giants.
Galatasary have a chance if they don’t concede
Despite being outplayed throughout on Wednesday, if Galatasary can keep a clean sheet in the reverse fixture, they still have a chance of reaching the semis. Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder are still world-class and we know that the big Ivorian can manipulate any defence around, as he did it to Barcelona so many times for Chelsea. There is sure to be an intimidating atmosphere at the Türk Telekom Arena next week and last time these two sides met at Galatasaray, the Turkish side needed three second-half goals to win the game – this time they have 90 minutes to net three. It is going to be tough, however, with no Burak Yilmaz – but Madrid will be without Sergio Ramos and Alonso. Keep them scoreless the underdogs have a chance.
Would Champions League triumph make Mourinho the world’s best?
Mourinho looked calm and relaxed from the off on Wednesday and he knows his side have one foot in a second successive Champions League semi-final. If they can go on to lift the trophy, will he be able to say he is the greatest coach around? He has got Ronaldo playing at the top of his game, week in week out. Angel Di Maria showed tonight how much he has improved and just why he has been linked with Manchester United. Benzema and Higuain seem to thrive under his leadership. Mourinho knows resting big players in Turkey could be a horrific mistake, one that almost cost fellow countryman Andre Villas-Boas a few weeks ago against Inter. But what seemed a strange selection on Wednesday in playing Michael Essien at right-back proved a shrewd choice. Essien seemed comfortable and enjoyed what could have been a tough evening, even notching up the assist for Benzema’s goal.