Zaragoza Vs. Real Madrid, La Liga 2013: Press Review

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Despite yesterday's draw earning Real Madrid the distinction of being the first top-flight side in Spain to earn 4,000 points over the course of 2,601 matches in 82 years, nobody in white seemed in the mood to celebrate after their listless performance against a lowly Zaragoza squad.

Fox Soccer used word the word 'limp' in the headline of their match report, which tells you all you need to know about how this draw was received in much of the English speaking press.

According to ESPN, Jose Mourinho made news on a few different fronts. While praising the stellar work of Diego Lopez, he said the following regarding Real's new keeper hierarchy:

"We must be honest. The way Diego is playing, it will be very hard to get him out of the net. I cannot say for certain that he will be there till the end of the season, but he is playing very well. For now, it will be difficult for Casillas to be on the bench against Galatasaray, but he will surely be there for Levante."

If that weren't enough to roil the blood of reporters and ultras everywhere, the boss turned up the heat on a misfiring strike force, saying:

"It is true that all our players except Ronaldo have scored less goals this season, and therefore the team suffers."

He did add, rather cryptically, that he expected the goals to come "if not this season, then the next." Hopefully Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema take umbrage to the boss's subtle (or not) shot across the bow and start filling the net against Galatasaray.

Speaking of Higuain, Rob Train, of the English version of El Pais and ESPN, made an interesting observation using the Argentinian to illustrate a recurring problem with this year's side, writing:

"The first half was as disjointed as any this season with the second-string failing to string together more than three passes. Cristiano Ronaldo was completely isolated and Gonzalo Higuain, in continuance of another worrying recent trait displayed across the side, was almost constantly offside."

WhoScored noticed the same thing in their match report. There has been a certain level of sloppiness and lack of precision from this team at times that was rarely. if ever, evident in last year's squad. To be fair, I think part of that could be down to squad rotation and the weather at La Rosaleda yesterday--but it still is a matter of concern as the next phase of the Champion League commences. Not to sound too defeatist here, but to put it in proper perspective: Zaragoza are still looking for their first league victory in 2013 and tomorrow the calendar will read April and, further, Osasuna are the only team in La Liga that have scored less goals than Zaragoza.

After the match Sergio Ramos dismissed any notion that the disappointing result would have any effect on the upcoming tie against Galatasaray, telling Real Madrid.com:

"The win would have done us well emotionally in terms of the Champions match, but it couldn't be. When you lose you can't go home happy. It was a chance to close the gap with the leader and thinking about the Champions isn't an excuse because we like to take things game by game. We had chances to get ahead on the scoreboard but we lacked efficiency in front of the goal. I would have liked to celebrate my birthday with a win but it's a personal joy to celebrate birthdays in Real Madrid and I hope I can continue to do so."

Ramos continued, saying:

"Perhaps we'll focus a bit more on the Copa and Champions but without forgetting the Liga, because emotionally victories are always good."

Finally he spoke briefly of Casillas and competition in the side:

"Mourinho decides and names the eleven [starting players]. The positive thing is that Casillas is back with the squad and with the goalkeepers that we have we're covered as far as the goal is concerned. Also, the competition is good for everyone. There's no preference between Varane and Pepe; when the time comes the coach is the one who chooses"

One thing is for certain--Being a Madridista is never boring.

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