A Different Story, La Liga Round 20

La Liga began 2014 with a similar trend as last year: a frenetic pace with two national competitions (La Liga and the Copa del Rey), two European tournaments (the Champions League and the Europa League) and the FIFA match days – all of this just before the start of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil.

It seems that the most important thing for all La Liga teams is to keep searching for that final objective without sliding into autopilot. This means, playing every match like if it were the last without falling into a repetitive routine. When the goal seems within reach, the hardest thing is to keep up the consistency to continue at the top.

After winning the FIFA Ballon d’Or, Cristiano Ronaldo said: “Every year is a different story, I will not rest on my laurels. I want more, either with Real Madrid or Portugal.”

Real Madrid’s striker is a player who generates either charm or aversion and, so far, the criticism from friends and strangers has not been balanced out. Living with an excessive media exposure is not something that any player can cope with.

Previously, I have thought of Cristiano Ronaldo as a teenager that is always looking for something that he never ends up finding. It now seems that a different story begins. It is not the 2013 Ballon d’Or achievement that leads me to find another point of view but his statement to continue looking for more. This search is complex for two reasons. 1- The results do not always match with the performance (something that now-a-days seems worthless). 2- Criticism and public opinion are always on the agenda.

The physical condition of this player is of the highest level – around round 9 it became known that he even does cryotherapy twice a week to increase his performance. However, this effort always seemed isolated, merely individual (a feature associated with a “galactico”). If his perseverance beyond results and criticism can show us something it’s the maturity of a player that just needs to direct his efforts towards team-work to reach the highest peak.

The difficulty for each team is to sustain itself throughout the 38 rounds of La Liga. During round 20, these were the outstanding matches:

Real Betis 0 – Real Madrid 5: a new chapter for the visiting team that found the key to catch up with the leading teams thanks to the balance that Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric provide in midfield. Will this be the white team’s proven formula for the rest of the season?

Getafe 2 – Real Sociedad 2: before the outburst of the visiting team, led by Carlos Vela, Getafe remained consistent in their search. The performance of the home team did not show any surprises but managed to rescue one point against a team that are above in the standings.

Villarreal 2 – 0 Almeria: the yellow team that were recently promoted to the first division showed an overall growth during 2013, despite coping with a turbulent end of the year. The direction of the team straightens during 2014 with one objective in mind: the 2014-2015 Champions League.

Levante 1 – Barcelona 1: the home team played consistently with one of the most important teams of La Liga. On the other side, Barcelona lacked the subtlety to score a second goal and win the match. The man behind Levante’s simple yet consistent structure is the coach, Joaquin Caparros.

Atletico Madrid 1 – Sevilla 1: Rakitic remains constant as the team’s playmaker and balances out the entire team. A small error from the home team prevents them from being the only leaders of the tournament.

More results from round 20:
Malaga 0 – Valencia 0
Elche 2 – 0 Rayo Vallecano
Granada 0 – 0 Osasuna
Espanyol 1 – 0 Celta de Vigo
Athletic Bilbao 4 – 3 Valladolid

La Liga experiences a new beginning. The challenge is to remain constant until the end.

About Nico Argentato

Spanish and English teacher, Sports Psychology student and music enthusiast. An innate passion for movement and rhythm prompted my early development in the sports world; participating in most sports that involve a ball. Now, I am also looking for the words that can best describe that vital energy: the music in football and world sports.
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