A LOOK AT LA LIGA
This Real Madrid band is like an egotistical monster of rock - the bigger the arena or festival, the better the performance.
I once saw Meatloaf; I'd been waiting for years to see the legend in the flesh. When he came to my local arena he was all over the place, out of tune, slurring some words and relying on lesser members of the band to carry him through the night.
Apparently when he played Wembley he was mega and rocked the house.
This is Real Madrid; send them to play a gig in Girona or Vigo and they'll throw lesser known band members to the centre of the stage to bang out tracks from the new album; it's one big let-down. Ask them to go head-to-head with luminaries at a festival and they raise the roof.
The clash with Paris Saint-Germain was billed as the most significant event of the season so far. Lose and it was 'adiós' to Zinedine Zidane, despite his quite incredible past record as manager of the most demanding club in the world.
I'm guessing that he told his players that this is their last chance to make a number one together (not that he will have suggested to Cristiano Ronaldo that he is anything other than immortal).
Zidane went back to the early days of coaching at the Bernabéu by selecting his team on balance and recent performance rather than reputation. Isco has rarely let him down and has frequently been inspirational whereas the fragility of body (and maybe mind) of Gareth Bale is still questionable.
Isco strummed and set the rhythm, Ronaldo enjoyed his soloist moments and Karim Benzema crashed around like a crazed drummer. I always feel sorry for Benzema, like a drummer his perspiration is often overlooked; without him there's less energy and the rest suffer. Some would like to see someone more famous in the line-up but he keeps getting the gigs. I wonder if he has posters of Ringo Starr in his mansion?
It could be argued that this Real Madrid team is like the Beatles. They've gone beyond playing the likes of the Cavern and only the buzz of a major football arena gets the adrenalin fully flowing.
The Beatles finished at Candlestick Park and the grand plan is for this edition of Real Madrid is to reach the crescendo at the Olimpiyskyi Stadium in Kiev.
To win the Champions League three years in a row would bring immortality and then the band must break up to allow the next generation to break through. Peter Gabriel was replaced by Phil Collins in Genesis, Adam Lambert filled in for Freddie Mercury is Queen and so Gareth Bale must grab the microphone from Cristiano Ronaldo and Marco Asensio has to become football's Justin Bieber.
The farewell tour continues.