Manero

Resurrection Sunday

By: Alfonso Duro

The Bible tells us Jesus died on the cross and came back to life three days later, on Easter Sunday. Well, Ronaldo chose the same day to come back from the land of the dead, scoring five goals against Granada and helping his team win 9-1, 14 days after losing El Clásico against FC Barcelona at Camp Nou.

Nobody is saying Ronaldo is the new Messiah (the nickname is already taken, actually), but choosing this specific day to make such a thunderous come back was taken by many of the Real Madrid faithful as a clear sign: The team can still make a comeback in La Liga, and Ronaldo can lead it.

READY TO CONQUER THE MOON. As it happens every time Real Madrid has a good game, the glass is now half full again. Their performance in El Clásico was the first sign, and the fact that all key players—Bale, Cristiano, Modrić, Kroos, Benzema, Varane—had superb showings with their respective national teams in the last two weeks, led many to believe the team could be ramping up for something good again.

A 9-1 victory only confirms that all signs pointed in the right direction, and as it is also a custom in Spain, if you ask any fan on the street, the team—the same team that merely three weeks ago may as well have descended to the fiery depths of hell—now seems to be ready to be a contender in La Liga, the Champions League, the 2018 World Cup and also just that much closer to conquering the moon. Go figure.

DON’T KNOCK JAMES RODRÍGUEZ DOWN. The Colombian attacker arrived in Madrid last summer as a fugitive. He was guilty of sending Di María to Manchester United; he was guilty of being valued at over 90 million euros; he was even guilty for his good looks, which put him in a very special category of players—alongside Cristiano Ronaldo—who everybody loves to hate.

Seven months later, and having spent the last two out injured, fans cannot hide their admiration for this authentic dynamo in the midfield. After 60 days, James Rodríguez stepped onto Bernabéu and quickly became the star of the match.

Ronaldo brought the goals, and Kroos and Modrić the style and pace in the middle, but James added the magic—something the team had quite a yearning for since early February.

It’ll be interesting to see what Ancelotti does once he can count on a full squad, since Isco has been stellar in the last four months, and he will battle the cafetero head-to-head. In the meantime, fans in the stadium for the match against Granada were quite clear about their feelings toward James.

EVEN GARETH BALE CAN SHINE. The most hated man in the world during the past month also decided to make a statement against Granada. In a much quieter way than Ronaldo or James, Gareth Bale wanted to add his two cents to a wonderful Easter morning, and not only nicked another goal and two assists to bump up his stats, but showed Ancelotti that he can count on him as a true asset in the middle—far beyond trying to dribble and losing the ball, as he’s done day in and day out since January.

With all midfielders back in the picture, Gareth Bale knows he’s got some competition and he needs to pick it up if he wants to keep his spot in Ancelotti’s lineup. For starters, he played a very big role in Real Madrid’s Resurrection Sunday performance.

Let’s give the man a chance to shine again.

Alfonso Duro is a Spanish freelance writer. When he's not managing Google's agency in the United Arab Emirates (his current job), chances are he's watching and writing about soccer.