Iker Casillas, Real’s captain and MC took over centre stage as Sergio Ramos played his understudy. Pipita, CR7, Pepe, Marcelo, and Esteban Granero chipped in with their thoughts as Karim Benzema, Mesut Oezil, and the rest of the non-Spanish speaking contingent skulked around the corners.
All sorts of records were set in Real’s title winning season. For the first time in La Liga a side recorded 100 points as the side scored a record 121 goals with 51 of those coming in away matches, yet another record. They also won 32 matches with 16 of those coming on the road, both records.
They had to put up this enviable record against Barca who whilst a notch below their stratospheric standards were no underdogs. The Catalunyans also recorded 114 goals and gave away less with 29 compared to Real’s 32 goals. In the end 9 points separated them. While the focus was rightly on these two giants battling away, there was no real suspense left of the nail biting variety witnessed in the Premiership or in the Serie just this week. Real had pulled away a month ago.
The victory also comes at the expense of the other clubs. The redistribution of points and goals scored are a socialist’s dream. Third placed Valencia were 39 points behind Real with less than half the goals scored. Yes, 39 points. That was five more points than
the difference between Racing Santander, 16 places removed from Valencia and at the very bottom. In the Premiership Arsenal was 19 points behind City and Utd, a considerably larger margin than usual but were 45 points ahead of relegated Wolves.
There is little doubt La Liga is becoming a soporific for most of us not invested in seeing two heavyweights land below the belt punches but it seems to be creating the phenomenon of other sides scrapping for secondary honours and seeking their fortunes in alternate competition. This is but a theory but measuring up constantly to Real and Barca uplifts the standards of the game on the whole as a Utd side found out against an excellent Athletic Bilbao side in the Europa Cup. The Basques finished the season 10th in La Liga on 49 points, a difference of 40 points between them and Utd who tied on points with City, the Premiership champions.
Yet, the 10th placed Liga team outplayed Utd, the Premiership runners up comprehensively as anyone watching those matches would testify. If this theory is correct than we shall see continued Spanish domination of the Europa Cup if Real and Barca continue their high end polarization of the Liga. This season, three out of the four semi-finalist were from that league and an even better Atletico Madrid side beat the Basques in the finals. Domestic despair, international repair.