Real Madrid seeks to put pressure on Barcelona
MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Forward Cristiano Ronaldo was booed by Real Madrid fans during his team’s game against Granada. AFP photoReal Madrid travels to Mallorca knowing a victory would stretch its lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga to eight points, before Barca faces Real Betis in the Camp Nou on Jan. 15.
The title race shifted dramatically in Madrid’s favor last weekend when Barça dropped two points in a 1-1 draw at Espanyol, a huge blow to the Catalans’ aspirations to claim a fourth consecutive league title.
With the great rivals not due to meet again in the league until April, the attention has moved to the probable clash between the two teams in the first leg of the Spanish Cup quarter-finals in Madrid next week.
However, Real captain Iker Casillas has attempted to cool talk about Barça and look ahead to the important league game.
“We must not become obsessed with Barcelona and look first of all to the Mallorca game,” he said. “We want to hold on to first position and be consistent in the league.The league is week in, week out. We slipped up against Levante and Racing earlier on but recovered quickly, now we have this advantage over second place we have to take it match by match now and not drop silly points.”
Real quickly returned to winning ways since the 3-1 home defeat to Barcelona last month, beating Sevilla 6-2 and Granada 5-1 to increase its advantage at the top.
However controversy for Real, fueled by a demanding local press, is never far away and Casillas was quick to dispel stories that the relationship between Cristiano Ronaldo and the Bernabeu crowd was at a low after the Portuguese star was booed for failing to celebrate a goal in the victory over Granada.
“He is a very competitive person who pushes himself to the limits and demands a lot from himself, he wants the best for the club as do the fans, but the crowd have been with him since day one,” he said.