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Real Chaos

I was going to write the first of my (hopefully) weekly round-ups of the weekend-that-was in La Liga. But Real Madrid’s tumultuous few days has left me with no choice but to look at the crisis engulfing the iconic club.

The 4-3 home loss to Sevilla on Saturday left the reigning La Liga Champions nine points adrift of table-topping Barcelona, who they face next weekend.

The loss, and the comparitively poor start to the season has cost Bernd Schuster his job as Real Madrid manager, with his replacement being Juande Ramos, ironically Sevilla’s old manager.

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I know that none of you need any reminders of Juande Ramos’ failings at Tottenham. Generally high profile failure doesn’t get you another high profile job straight away, let alone a step-up to one of the most famous clubs in the world.

Yet this is Ramos’ reward – a temporary contract with Real Madrid, a contract which will presumably be extended at the end of the season if Ramon Calderon and company on the Real Madrid board are happy with Ramos’ performance come next June.

I say ‘reward’ but has Ramos actually thrown himself into the lions’ den?

After all his stuttering side face Barcelona in a few days, a team which looks like a new side compared to the one of last season, which found itself in a similar position to which Real is now having to endure.

With Thierry Henry looking the best he has since his move from Arsenal, Real Madrid fans may find themselves watching from behind the sofa this weekend, as the prospects do not look good at all.

Barcelona are playing with flair and style, with their goal difference of + 35 indicative of their excellent performances so far this season. As mentioned above, Real Madrid trail by nine points, while their goal difference of + 9 comparitively puny compared to Barcelona’s ample goal tally this term. One only needs to turn to Barca’s demolition of Valencia, who themselves have started well this season, last weekend to see the potential of Pepe Guardiola’s side.

AFP in Spain has reported that Schuster will receive a 4.5 million euro payoff from Real, and from my perspective, may have gotten the better deal.

There seems little doubt that being manager of Real Madrid is one of the hardest jobs in football. Fabio Capello got sacked for winning the league. Schuster has been sacked after winning the league last season, and by all accounts this year’s title race is not over.

However, if Madrid lose El Classico this coming Saturday, the race may be over. A loss, an event widely predicted by experts, will see them 12 points adrift having lost both the physical and mental battle.

This would leave Madrid with little chance of winning the league again, and could leave Ramos out of work again by the end of the season.

Good luck Juande, I have a feeling you’ll need it.

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