With 14 games to go and Real Madrid still holding a ten point lead against Barcelona, La Liga still feels as good as over.
But, as is the case after almost every round of Spanish top flight matches, question marks are being levelled at Jose Mourinho’s team and their latest good result. In short, this week the Madrid haters are befuddled by how Los Blancos duo Sergio Ramos and Pepe both stayed on the field during their team’s 1-nil win at Rayo Vallecano.
Sport.es – a paper that is basically as Barcelona cheerleading squad – splashed their publication with Pepe y Ramos tienen barra libre (“Pepe and Ramos have an open bar”) followed by the sub-headline “the two central bulls of Real Madrid do whatever they want at all grounds in the league.”
Sergio Ramos should have received a straight red card in the first half for a painful and intentional elbow into the neck of Rayo’s Diego Costa. People survive car-crashes without absorbing so much whiplash as was suffered by Diego Costa, whilst on the other hand Ramos looked like a true bully as he sized up his opponent with several timely stares over his shoulder before he finally attacked. Yet not only did Ramos get off scott-free, but Costa received a yellow for arguing the assault with the official.
Ramos versus Costa had a round two in the second period also. As the pair jostled for possession near the touchline and right under the noses of the linesman, Ramos again was spotted sprawling his forearm in the face of the Rayo forward. It must be stressed however, that in this instance Costa was also giving as good as he got, as Ramos took a couple of smacks to the kisser in the tussle.
And then there was Pepe.
Already tarnished without a reputation as a hot-head, the Portuguese defender was also lucky to avoid a straight red after he stomped on Rayo forward Piti’s ankle in just the 11th minute. Pepe’s was a mistimed tackle rather than a vindictive one, but when wound down in slow motion it became apparent that Piti was lucky to escape without serious injury.
Barcelona conspiracy theorists then had one final argument in their arsenal.
After all the Sergio Ramos and Pepe fouls, the only team to find themselves reduced to ten men were Rayo after Michu was dismissed for what looked a successful tackle on Sami Khedira that was interpreted as being dangerous.
Related link: Highlights of Rayo Vallecano 0 – Real Madrid 1.