Real Madrid have spent the last five years in the shadows of their La liga counterparts Barcelona and have spent endless amount of time and money to try to emulate their success, to no avail. However, even as Barcelona's squad continues to grow with Real Madrid being considerably quiet in the transfer market, does the 2011-12 season represent Madrid's greatest challenge to Barcelona's throne?
After yet another disappointing loss to their bitter rivals Barcelona, Real Madrid seemed to be cast even further into the shadow of the Catalan side. Opportunities were created but only two players converted, still susceptible at the back. An ugly stoppage time brawl marred the end of an entertaining game of football and again cast Madrid as the pantomime villains. However, there is much for fans to be optimistic about.
Real Madrid's performance in the Super Cup showed lots of promise and anticipation for the upcoming season. The intensity of their pressing game, combined with a fluid passing style, created numerous chances as well as problems for the much maligned Barca midfield. For much of the first half, Barcelona looked slow and inaccurate as they were continuously robbed of the ball and kept on misplacing passes. Squad
Although Madrid have been quiet in the transfer market, the team looks completely different. With the loss of the title and knockout from the quarter finals of the Champions League last year, the team look hungry to build on the Copa Del Rey success. Benzema's return to form, along with Gonzalo Higuain's comeback, adds greater strength to a forward line-up that scored more than ninety goals last season. The Ronaldo factor
The Portuguese forward scored 53 goals in 54 appearances last season, with 41 goals in the league. Ronaldo still has the ability to be a match winner and although he is not the overall player that Messi is, his role in the Madrid team and the team's success is inevitable. He has shown throughout his career his ability to score and will continue to score goals as he progresses into a better player. Summary
Without much fuss, Madrid have made understated progress this season. This still may not be enough to usurp one of the greatest sides that has ever lived. They may currently be unstoppable, yet at the minute Mourinho is subtly making all the right moves.