While Barcelona in Abu Dhabi, winning the Club World Cup, Real Madrid was wrapping up the pre-Christmas La Liga campaign with a 6-0 win over Real Zaragoza. It was a brilliant performance by the Merengues, who finally showed the form expected of them when they went out and bought Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, among others, in a record summer spending spree. As Marca columnist Santi Segurola noted, "Madrid have gone from the team that suffered at the start of the season to an energetic, confident, devastating team."
Sid Lowe examines the steps Coach Manuel Pellegrinihas taken to reshape his team since its humiliating loss to third division Alcoron in the Copa del Rey. Real has switched to a 4-3-1-2. Lassana Diarra has stamped his authority in midfield, alongside Marcelo, who was moved from his position on the backline. Dutchman Rafael Van der Vaarthas been outstanding in place of the injured Kaka, while young Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain has relegated Raul to the sidelines.