Madrid's papers have got it in for their poster boy, says Tim Stannard...
As Shakespeare may have written if he'd been blasted on iced tea and gin, “to try but ultimately fail does not make thee the fly on the pauper’s jerkin”.
David Moyes could have stuck around in the Premier League over the past year waiting for Aston Villa, Sunderland, Newcastle, or whoever to fire their manager and then move in for a comfortable mid-table life. Instead, the Scotsman packed his knapsack with bread and marmalade and headed off for a whole new experience in the very charming northern Spanish city of San Sebastian to take over Real Sociedad.
That adventure came to a close a year later when Moyes was fired from La Real after winning just 10 games from 42 over that 12-month period, a record that has left the club perilously close to the relegation zone. The former Manchester United man was dealing with a triple whammy of obstacles that couldn't be overcome – the language barrier, a brand new league with brand new clubs and players, and getting the very best out of a squad that contained real quality.
With players like Carlos Vela, Esteban Granero, Sergio Canales, Xabi Prieto, Rubén Pardo, Asier Illarramendi and Jonathas, Real Sociedad should have been a heck of a lot further up the table. Moyes himself would agree, noting during Friday’s post-match press conference after decisivie defeat to Las Palmas that La Real weren't getting the results some performances deserved.
But the club have now had another sea change after Moyes was sent packing on Monday – a move that has gone largely unnoticed in the Spanish press, which sums up how the stranger from the north fared over the past 12 months after a much-celebrated arrival. Former Barcelona B boss Eusebio Sacristán takes over.
“Show-off” declares the front page, when normally there would be a huge love-in about the global fame of Real Madrid’s prized product
What has really got the juices flowing in Spain, though, is Cristiano Ronaldo spending Monday promoting his new documentary film in London all dressed up in a tux on a red carpet. Under normal circumstances that would all be fine and dandy. The problem, though, is that Ronaldo isn't exactly firing on all cylinders on the pitch for Real Madrid and is causing one or two headaches off it by apparently making fluttering eyes at PSG… and everyone else, in what is perceived to be the player engineering a move away from the Bernabéu next summer.
The defeat to Sevilla on Sunday and a bit of a no-show from Ronaldo has the Madrid papers a little perturbed. “The Cristiano of the past few matches is not one we recognise,” writes AS editor Alfredo Relaño, who complains that a normal CR7 would have been tearing around the pitch, veins a-popping and screaming for the ball. Instead, the current Ronaldo seems too “relaxed”.
The vibe is similar in Marca towers, with Ronaldo on the front cover of Tuesday’s edition at his premier. “Show-off” declares the front page, when normally there would be a huge love-in about the global fame of Real Madrid’s prized product. Instead, the inside pages go through the reasons for Ronaldo’s state of apparent apathy at the club including a lack of decent relationship with Rafa Benitez, playing too far forward up the pitch, and still having to play equal fiddle to Gareth Bale in the Real Madrid hierarchy.
Added to the fact that the Portuguese has now surpassed Raúl to become the greatest Real Madrid goalscorer of all time, and the thought might be popping into people’s heads that while he may be on the pitch physically for his club, mentally he may have already left.