It is difficult to say that Real Madrid fans went through a lot of lows, but regardless if your team is at the top of the table or the bottom, the lows are there. For Real Madrid, four years of watching their arch rival, Barcelona, lift the La Liga trophy was a definite low. That sinking feeling that it could happen again was renewed when Barcelona flexed their muscle winning the Spanish Super Cup before a single game of the La Liga season was even played. The feeling continued when Barcelona again reminded a flying high Madrid that they could be beat - at the Bernabeu no less. And last week, the lows were there after 120 minutes of play and penalty kicks ended Madrid’s chances to advance to the Champions League Final.
Where the team had highs and lows, the players did as well. Gonzalo Higuain and Mesut Özil both were heavily criticized during the course of the season. Higuain showed brilliant play at times, but fell out of favor and allowed Karim Benzema to solidify his position as José Mourinho’s preferred choice, leaving the talented Argentinian on the bench. In Özil’s case, it was more difficult to pinpoint the issue. He had games where he excelled on every level, but at other times he was mediocre (by Madrid’s high standards). In addition, although the German put forth a strong effort in every game, it was rare that he was able to complete a full game.
Last night, however, the lows for both players and team dissipated. Gonzalo Higuain reminded everyone in the 16th minute why he is a superstar. Moving his feet and taking the ball around multiple defenders, he gave a lesson on how goals are scored and sent a scorcher to the back of the net. Only 4 minutes later, the clever Özil, not a frequent goal scorer, made it 2-0. Higuain’s shot would be all Madrid needed, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s 44th goal of the season made it a comfortable win. The smiles on the Madridista’s faces got bigger with each passing second.
Having faced the lows, Madrid has now turned to the highs. The 4 years since Los Blancos claimed the league title seemed endless, but on Wednesday night, the party at Cibeles Fountain would start. Champions. Campeones. The official celebration starts shortly and the team may even feel good enough to let Sergio Ramos hold the trophy. Maybe.
Even though being league champions for the 32nd time is enough, Madrid could still break some records. They have already broken several scoring records, but they have the potential to reach the 100 point mark in the league – an unbelievable achievement which would break the record set last year by Barcelona at 97 points. And if that isn’t enough to keep watching the La Liga season to its end, there is still the race for the Pichichi Trophy. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have already broken the scoring records and a scant 2 goals separate them in that race.
For the next few days, however, none of that will matter - it is going to be all about singing and dancing and celebrating – Campeones! Champions!
A.J. Nelson can be found on Twitter @FootieObsessed and counting down the days to September when she will find herself in Madrid.