On has to fathom the implication of this loss.
A club boasting Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Rafael Van Der Vaart, and Gonzalo Higuain cannot count themselves as Europe’s elite. The salary and transfer fees of these players equals the annual pay packet of 4,000,000 Spaniards. It just boggles the mind.
But if you saw the match, it was built around the fragile hope of Cristiano Ronaldo’s early goal. That is all they had. Manuel Pellegrini can get all the brickbats but what does he have to do with Gonzalo Higuain’s criminal miss with an open goal waiting? How is a manager culpable for such a sin? In football, more than any other sport, the adage you are only as good as your players holds. The rest is relationship building.
Pellegrini does not deserve this and his players do not deserve him. Their performance in the second half was shambolic. He is being made a scapegoat. If Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo have an ounce of shame, they will own up to their responsibility for such a debacle and support their manager.
Full marks to Lyon. Their defense was iron clad when it needed to be and for that we can single out two players – Cris and Jeremy Toulalan. They were huge as they stopped pretty much every Real attack in their tracks. Hugo Lloris did the rest. On the attacking end Lisandro Lopez, Cesar Delgado, Kim Kallstrom, and Miralem Pjanic took a buzz saw to the Real back line. Delgado especially was a thorn in their side and it was his industry that set up Pjanic’s goal.