What's wrong at Real?


With Real Madrid currently sitting some seven points clear of Barcelona at the summit of La Liga, things at the Santiago Bernabeu look auspicious after a number of years in the shadow of Pep Guardiola's Catalan machine.

The last time Real won the title was in 2008 under the stewardship of Bernd Schuster, and a triumph this year would suggest an - albeit minimal - shift in power in the Spanish league after a period of Barca dominance.

This is surely good news for fans of Real, but Madridistas are notoriously hard to please and have not afforded their side the support they perhaps deserve for their exploits this season.

Of course, it would be unfair to level this accusation at all Madrid fans, but a significant portion of supporters have registered their discord in recent weeks, with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho bearing the brunt of the criticism.

This has led to suggestions that the Portuguese duo want out of Madrid in the summer, and reports claim both plan to seek refuge in the relative haven of the Premier League.

According to the Daily Express, Ronaldo believes his dream with Los Blancos has become 'tarnished' and he could move back to England as early as the summer.

Manchester United, unsurprisingly, is being touted as the 27-year-old's favoured destination, and he is said to desperately miss both Old Trafford and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ronaldo left Manchester for Madrid in July 2009 for a world record transfer fee of £80 million, and has scored a quite remarkable 117 goals in 121 games since joining Los Merengues.

However, despite his individual achievements, Ronaldo does not always endear himself to fans and, at times, his application has been questioned this season.

The Portuguese is understandably upset by an accusations of a lack of endeavour, and has worn the expression of a man who believes he deserves to be heralded rather than jeered.

Reports that a divide has formed among players at Real has added fuel to the flames of speculation regarding Ronaldo's future, but also that of Mourinho.

The Sunday Times claim the former Chelsea manager will quit as Real manager at the end of the campaign, regardless of what happens this term, having grown tired of life at the Bernabeu.

Mourinho is said to already have a job waiting for him in England, although where the 49-year-old will end up remains unclear.

Despite watching his side cruise to the top of the table this term in free-flowing style, Mourinho has been criticised for the negative tactics employed during the Classico defeats to Barca.

Supremacy against Barca, it would appear, is more important for some Madridistas than leading the race for league glory, and Ronaldo and Mourinho will be remembered for their failings against the Catalan giants.

Ronaldo was derided for missing a simple chance in the 3-1 defeat in December and, aside from the Copa del Rey final last year, has struggled to influence any of his encounters with Barcelona.

Perhaps it is time for Madrid fans to readdress their aspirations and focus less on vanquishing Barca and more on retaining arguably the finest manager and player of a generation.

Real's loss would be the Premier League's substantial gain.

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