Halfway through the second half of Osasuna-Real Madrid, a friend sent me the following message: "The game in Pamplona is like a third division game." After a while, I replied to my friend and told him he was being too kind. Osasuna, who are bottom of La Liga for a reason, got the result with nothing more than the undaunted enthusiasm they always show when they play against Real Madrid. 'Los Blancos', meanwhile, offered nothing at all. Without Cristiano Ronaldo the team are broken, the victim of the confusions that have been imposed on the squad and the entire club in general. Perhaps this Madrid will still salvage something from this season, but I have hardly ever seen Madrid play this badly.
It should be noted that as well as Cristiano, Madrid were without Sergio Ramos and Pepe. But they weren't playing for Osasuna either. Madrid had nine full internationals on the pitch, (or eight, depending on whether you can call Raúl Albiol an international), but more internationals than Osasuna could ever dream of having. Madrid played very badly. Ángel Di Maria was anonymous, Kaká is a liability, and Xabi Alonso can't do everything by himself. The full backs Álvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Coentrao barely deserve a mention, while Khedira ran around the pitch with his usual energy but offered little of substance. The only players worth their salt are Iker Casillas, who did not have to do much yesterday, and Cristiano, the absent hero.
Cristiano arrived at Madrid as the most expensive footballer ever, but he has been more than worth it. The difference between what he and Kaká (who earns the same amount of money and cost two-thirds of his price) have done for Madrid is colossal.
Cristiano often feels he is the one that does everything for Madrid, that Leo Messi lives in a paradise, while he lives in a wasteland. Everything that has happened so far this year (how he carried the team against Celta and Real Sociedad and yesterday's events) will only serve to strengthen this feeling. As soon as Florentino Pérez resolves the conundrum of his contract, the better, because he already enough battles to fight.