Sitting fourth in La Liga and bounced in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals, Real Madrid heads into Wednesday’s Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie against Paris Saint-Germain a wounded animal.
A trip to the Balaidos in Galicia is never tepid waters — Barcelona were made to weather their own storm in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula on Thursday in a frantic 1-1 Copa del Rey Round of 16 draw — and Celta Vigo again showcased their formidable home fortress in a 2-2 La Liga draw with Real Madrid on Sunday.
Gareth Bale made his return from another injury layoff with an exquisite assist for Real Madrid, but goalkeeper Keylor Navas’ ricocheted blunder may have overshadowed Bale’s attempted heroics. Real Madrid drew 2-2 against Fuenlabrada in the second leg of their Copa del Rey Round of 32 match on Tuesday, advancing 4-2 on aggregate as the club’s (relative) struggles continued this season.
Real Madrid’s shocking 2-1 defeat to Girona yesterday marked the fourth occasion in which Los Blancos have failed to capture all three points this season, a worrying trend that’s seen Barcelona open an eight-point gap on their fiercest rivals after only 10 matches. Real’s attack has been uncharacteristically blunt this campaign, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s return of only one goal in 540 minutes of action has garnered the most attention.