Where Will Real Madrid Finish in La Liga?
This is a question I’m sure many Real Madrid supporters have thought about. After being knocked out of the Copa del Rey and having no chance of catching Barcelona in La Liga, Real are running out of options to capture some form of glory this season. Thankfully, the past couple of weeks in Liga have seen this squad perform much better and things appear to be trending in the right direction.
While Real still currently sit in fourth place in the league table (with a game in hand), they are only two points behind third place Valencia. It’s very possible that Real will be in third this weekend, should they beat Levante and Valencia loses to Atletico. Speaking of Atletico, they are in second and are currently eigh points ahead of Real still.
The biggest concern shouldn’t be where Real finishes in the top four, so long as they remain there by the end of the season. With Villarreal right behind them in the table, it’s essential that the club continues to win and collect three points each week. The push for catching Barcelona has long sailed by and now it’s crucial that Real maintain their spot for next season’s Champions League. That is, of course, assuming Los Blancos don’t go for the three-peat in Europe this season.
From my perspective, it’s highly likely that Real will finish at least in the top four by season’s end, if not the top three. It might be too late to try and catch Atletico for second, but the Champions League spot is all that truly matters. I would be absolutely floored if Real finishes outside of the top four and Villarreal or Sevilla finish above them. At that point, serious changes would need to be addressed over the summer; and it becomes an entirely different discussion. Real seem to be trending the right way in the past couple matches in La Liga and they’re close to getting their full squad back together. Hopefully this can carry on through the rest of the season and perhaps into the knockout stage of the Champions League.
How Far Will Real Go in the Champions League?
No one ever said Real would have it easy this season and having to play PSG in the first round of the knockout stage is evidence of this. PSG, no doubt, is one of the favorites to win the Champions League this season after uniting Mbappe and Neymar with Cavani in one lethal attack. Those two have only added to an already deep squad consisting of the likes of Draxler, Verratti, and Pastore. I think Real are certainly the underdogs here but should they win, as Carlo Ancelotti has suggested, they’ll be tough to beat.
If Real’s struggles resurface for the two matches against PSG, they’ll miss out on yet another championship this season. Should they win, then the question becomes how much farther can they go if the likes of Manchester City, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona are still around past the first knockout round. Certainly slaying the dragon that is PSG would be a huge confidence booster for Real, but only until they have to defy the odds again. We still don’t even really know what Real truly is this season. Are they the side that struggles most of the season and are out of the La Liga title race and Copa Del Rey? Or are they the squad we’ve seen the last two weekends? It comes down to which one shows up for these matches.
Real seem to do best in European tournaments, which is why they’ve won the Champions League the past two seasons. If they hope to advance past PSG, they have to show up as they always seem to do. Ronaldo, who lives for these moments, is going to be relied on heavily. He’s done rather poorly in La Liga, but he’s the leading scorer in the Champions League still. If he rises to the occasion yet again in the knockout stage, I think the questions against him this season will be put to rest.
So, What Will Real Accomplish?
In my personal opinion, I think Real should at least be able to guarantee us at least a spot in next year’s Champions League, ideally finishing in the top four of La Liga.
As for the Champions League this season, I do think Real will defeat PSG. This is where Real shines brightest and I think they’ll be well-prepared for Neymar and Co. Should they indeed get past PSG, I don’t really know where they’ll go from there. It all depends on who advances past the first round and who Real would get paired against. I do not think Real will win the Champions League this season, though stranger things have happened, but I do think they’ll at least make a good push for it.
Perhaps they’ll surprise us, in a good way this time, and show why we had so much confidence in them at the start of the 2017/18 season. Either way, both good and bad, buckle up because it’s going to be one thrilling ride to the end of the season.