Resurgent Real Madrid Sets Sights on Remaining Cup Competitions

Jasper Juinen

The excitement following a masterful week of football by Real Madrid has perked up the spirits of Madridistas worldwide, and rightfully so. A season once in doubt now has an altogether different feel to it.

Whenever you defeat the world footballing powers of Barcelona (twice) and Manchester United all in a week's time, the world notices. Not to mention that the two absolutely vital matches in this span were at the Camp Nou and Old Trafford. Even by Real Madrid's standards—arguably the highest footballing standards around—this is a remarkable feat, and the exhilaration that accompanies such a feat is warranted. That being said, there is still much to do for Madrid to reach the heights it always expects to. Trophies will always be the ultimate marker for a team's success in Madrid, and the squad is still in strong contention for two.

Cross-town rivals, Atlético Madrid, await Los Blancos for another Derbi madrileño in the Copa del Rey final to be played on May 18th. Madrid's quarterfinals opponent in UEFA Champions League play will be determined by the draw to be held on March 15th. Half of the field is set, as Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain joined Real Madrid in qualifying this week. Bayern Munich will join the field barring a miracle on Arsenal's part, while the Málaga-Porto and Schalke-Galatasaray ties still hang in the balance. Over at the Camp Nou, Barcelona will have much work to do to overcome an 0-2 aggregate to AC Milan.

While not as enticing or relevant as Madrid's cup competitions, La Liga will still be a point of interest. Despite defeating Barcelona 2-1 with a reserve squad in the most recent La Liga fixture, the deficit is still at 13 points behind the Blaugrana and 2 points behind Atleti. At this point, La Liga would appear to be an opportunity to rest the usual stars and give others a chance to contribute. Jose Mourinho's selections at striker will be monitored closely, as young Álvaro Morata has impressed in limited time, while Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuaín look to finally find form heading into the big competitions. Also, Iker Casillas' return from a broken hand comes on the heels of heroic performances from his replacement, Diego López. Look no further than the comment section below for Madridistas' opinions on which players should see increased time on the pitch in the coming months.

We may also be nearing the close of Jose Mourinho's chapter in the Bernabéu history books. Constant power struggles in the head offices, locker room, in the press and amongst the fans lead many to believe this will be it for the Special One. Personally, I'd be sad to see him move on, for I've really appreciated the brutal honesty—and quite frankly, the results—he's brought with him.

Time will tell, of course, but the remaining time should be enjoyed by all as we see if the team can put all the rumblings aside and come together for a common cause we'd all relish: letting Barcelona celebrate its measly league title, because we humbled them on the way to hoisting the copa and the trophy with the big ears.

Update: The Copa del Rey final has been moved up to Friday May 17th upon the agreement of both clubs. The final match will be held at the Santiago Bernabéu.

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