Real Madrid face Real Sociedad tomorrow evening at Valdebebas in La Liga with a real opportunity. Los Blancos are third having been leapfrogged by Barcelona after their defeat of Sevilla yesterday afternoon. Depending on Atletico Madrid’s result tonight, Madrid could actually pull up level points with their city rivals with a win.
Atletico started the season on fire, gaining a seemingly insurmountable lead at one point. Their form has slumped in recent weeks, however, and now face the psychological challenge of trying to switch focus after losing a streak. Barcelona and Madrid are in dogged form, and will be quick to capitalise on any further slip-ups from Los Rojiblancos.
La Real are difficult opponents, however, who’ve regained form after a serious slump themselves. Like Atletico, they started the season like a train only to fall off the wagon as the weeks progressed. They’re now sixth and well out of the title race, but are looking to try to catch Sevilla in fourth and put together a late bid for a Champions League spot. They’re unbeaten in five having won three on the bounce.
“We’re playing well,” Zinedine Zidane said in pre-match comments carried by Marca. “We’ve regained confidence and that can be seen on the pitch. [Karim] Benzema and [Eden] Hazard are better, but they’re not ready. We can’t give them a date [to return], but they’ll recover later than those who have already returned.”
Zidane was asked again about the contract situation of Sergio Ramos, his captain. “You always ask me the same thing,” he replied. “He’s an impressive man. I want him to get himself right [return to fitness after his injury], but apart from that, nothing else. Tomorrow we have a game.”
The Frenchman was wary of the threat carried by Real Sociedad. “They’re a great team,” he said. “We’re the ones who have to go out and take it to them on the pitch and we have to do it in the manner in which we’ve been doing it.”