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Somehow, Real Will Win Strange Season
The Guardian, April 23rd, 2007 3:30PM

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This year's Spanish Primera Liga title race has been absolutely amazing. Not, perhaps, for the quality of the soccer (although at times that has been very high), but more for Barcelona's astonishing inability to pull away from the rest of the pack. After wasting an untold number of chances at Villarreal on Sunday, Barca finally fell, 2-0, leaving Sevilla and Real Madrid, both winners at home, off the hook yet again.

It's almost as if external forces are at work here, says the Guardian's Sid Lowe, who believes that Real Madrid is now going to win the league. Despite "myriad shortcomings," and several disappointing results, Los Merengues find themselves just two points out of first place. Are we being set up for the kind of fairy tale sendoff that David Beckham and MLS could have only dreamed of? Indeed, thanks again to a Beckham free kick (and Barca's slip-up), Real is still in it. Less than two months go that seemed impossible. It's strange to see so many pieces falling into place. And it's not just in Spain. Over in England, you might say it's beginning to smell an awful lot like 1999.

If Madrid manages to top La Liga, it will only be because Real was the least bad team in a very messy, inconsistent league-which is the only reason Real's still in it in the first place, Low says. Consider Los Blancos have fewer home goals scored than relegation-threatened Gimnastic. It's second-leading scorer, Raul, has just five league goals. In January, the club couldn't pay Coach Fabio Capello to walk out. Soon thereafter, club's supporters waved hankies in unison, calling for the resignation of both Capello and president Ramon Calderon.

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