After Atletico Madrid's defeat to Levante at the weekend the title looked back on for Real Madrid. A nice-looking run-in whilst Barcelona and Atletico faced a last day showdown worked in their favour. Having clinched a late draw at home to Valencia Madrid’s hopes were still alive but after dropping more points against Real Valladolid, it appears to be all over for Los Blancos.
Carlo Ancelotti's side have always been playing catch-up, on the coattails of the top two after a slow start to the season. In this League you do not get many slips from the top teams and when they happen it is imperative the opposition make the most of them. Madrid were presented with a golden opportunity after both Atletico and Barcelona failed to win but have blown it disastrously.
Four points adrift of Atletico with two games to go, it's not mathematically impossible but realistically its over for this year, leaving Barcelona and Atletico to fight it out for the crown. Madrid have not come up trumps in the big games this season and have been in a strange position as underdogs. Ultimately, any season that Madrid fail to win the title must go down as a disappointment, and a better start next season is a must.
The disappointment was obvious after the final whistle, with Carlo Ancelotti saying his team lacked mental energy whilst Xabi Alonso claimed he was annoyed with his teammates. They knew what an opportunity it was to almost make themselves favourites after being outsiders all season. All eyes will be on Lisbon now and Madrid will have to pick themselves up mentally and physically.
The Coach will have a job to ensure his players put this disappointment to the back of their minds and lift spirits in the camp ahead of the Champions League final. The last thing Madrid want is to go into a major European final deflated, thinking of what could have been, up against Atletico, who could go into the final with momentum as champions. Physically it gives Ancelotti a chance to rest players in the final two games ahead of the final and avoid any injury scares such as on Wednesday evening.
Madrid's failure means it's down to Atletico and Barcelona. Los Colchoneros need two draws to seal the title while two wins for Barcelona will hand them the trophy. The League is in both of their hands, an opportunity that Tata Martino's side would never have expected. It’s most likely to come down to the last game between the two teams, a fitting end to a dramatic title race.
After a season of discontent Barca could come away as La Liga champions again whileafter a stunning campaign Atletico could fail to win a thing. It's impossible to predict what will happen. But one thing is for sure – Real Madrid are no longer in the running.