Last March when the quest for a four straight Champions League ended abruptly in the Round of 16, pain and despair was on every Madridista face. A glorious era of European dominance was over. However, the surprise return of Zinedine Zidane brought back excitement and hope, which carried over as “extra credit” despite a subpar preseason and average start in La Liga. After the tournament-opening 3-0 loss in Paris, shock and disappointment rang loud and clear, especially from Madridistas in the New England region.
In the heart of the Ocean State, Peña Madridista Providence (@RMFC_Providence) gathered at their headquarters called Ladder 133 Kitchen & Social. Confidence and happiness filled the air. Real Madrid’s favorite tournament was starting up again with the Zidane back on the sideline. As the game progressed, those smiles were erased. Each PSG goal was a punch in each Member’s gut. After the final whistle blew, several Members recognized the lack of will from the team, except James Rodriguez. Vice Chairwoman Andrea Montenegro said about the Colombian midfielder: “Only James played with spirit. I saw a reluctant team with few opportunities (to score).” While she praised his effort, Member Mynor Aguirre did not hold back about Zidane’s decision, “James was not the right guy to sub out for Jovic. The team came down with the exit of James.”
41 miles to the north in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, Peña Madridista Boston (@RMCFBoston) held their event for the Champions League opener in Clarke’s at Faneuil Hall. For five years, the Peña has had to overcome the popularity of the Premier League on weekend matchdays. So when Champions League comes up, these games are the special occasion to attract the most Members in support of the 13-time winners. Just as Providence witnessed, Boston’s impression was much harsher. Captain Daniel Polanco voiced his dismay, “It was a disappointing start. No communication. No defensive plan. I was surprised PSG didn’t score more goals to be honest.” Some Members were so disgusted with the team’s performance that they left the event before full time was called.
Even though there is hope the team will correct errors before the next group game against Club Brugge on October 1, a repeat of the Paris performance should be avoided at all costs. Not a single shot on target, arriving late to every 50/50 ball, leaving a huge sea of space for opposing forwards in the box, and trotting aimlessly instead of running with ferocity to regain possession are contrary to the Club’s competition values. It was ironic to see PSG wear their alternate all-white kit while Real Madrid wore the road navy blue. If you squinted your eyes, it appeared as if PSG was the 13-time winners primed to kick off a campaign to pursue number 14 while Real Madrid looked content to just be a tournament participant. Madridistas expect much more. We do not coast to any title. EVER.
Hala Madrid y nada más.
Christian Paredes (@Xian_D_Paredes) is a Founding Member and former Chairman (2012-2016) of La Peña Madridista Sur de California (@RmSurCalifornia)