Messi, en Mendizorroza

This was a league which rewarded stability

OPINION

@JordiCruyff

It isn't easy to maintain your composure in football when there are millions of eyes watching you and, on most of time, questioning you. And Zinedine Zidane showed he could deal with that. He always read off the same script, didn't lose his cool and always responded well to difficult questions. 

He also knew how to be in order to win over his players. He also showed his personality by stepping away from Real Madrid during his first run when he felt he needed a break. People will take you seriously if you stick to your principles.

In his second stint at Madrid he returned with more power but, at a team which demands as much as Real Madrid, he knew that wouldn't be enough. He would need to show courage and character when rumours about his future were called into question. Not I, nor anyone, have all the elements to judge him as a coach. Football isn't an exact science and it depends on various elements of which make up a team.

But what I did recognise with this Real Madrid side, who won LaLiga, is that it's a team which doesn't have the same attacking strength as Barça. They decided to compensate the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo by building a more solid defence, holding onto slim leads and controlling matches. I can't deny they haven't had some good fortune but their record since the restart are undeniable with ten victories. A more solid team even with the absences of Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale. 

That solidness you also notice away from the pitch. You haven't heard of controversies or issues with the team taking a paycut or players complaining about their names being linked with moves away. And despite being known as a club with very little patience towards their coaches, this time they didn't panic during a season disrupted by a health crisis. 

Sevilla were another example of this and now they've secured Champions League football. Led by Monchi, they held onto their coach even when results weren't going their way. The huge support handed to Julen Lopetegui allowed Sevilla to maintain their rhythm and become a team which was difficult to beat. Atletico Madrid didn't react when Simeone was questioned. No one can imagine that club without el Cholo and that patience has been rewarded with qualification for the Champions League as well as a place in the quarter finals of Europe's premier competition. 

The general instability hasn't been to Barça's benefit this season. That's something that Leo Messi made reference too a few days ago, although only he knows the true meaning behind his comments. As my father once said to the press: "If I had wanted you to understand me, I'd have explained it a lot better."

WHAT I LIKED

Barça's heavy victory against Alaves with a Messi grabbed a brace. Barça needed to perform at the highest level following the loss to Osasuna. This was the best possible response after the sour taste of losing the LaLiga title. In an uncomfortable week, football took centre stage to give everyone a lift ahead of the Champions League match against Napoli.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

The huge gatherings of supporters following successful sporting achievements. It was scary to see the images from Liverpool, Cadiz and Leeds especially as we're seeing new COVID-19 outbreaks. It's important to not forget current events despite the season's coming to an end. In this regard, Madrid showed the right example by ensuring that Cibeles was empty when they won LaLiga.

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