There’s a scene in Fight Club where Edward Norton’s character, frustrated by the sense his counter-culture utopia was slipping from his grasp, turns Jared Leto’s face into a traffic accident. Presumably, this had nothing to do with Jared Leto the person, but the script didn’t make that clear. Dude’s pretty annoying.
“I felt like destroying something beautiful,” Norton’s character says after climbing off “Angel Face” (seriously), and while Spanish club Granada has rarely been called “something beautiful,”, there was a sense of excess in Real Madrid’s 9-1 win over the La Liga strugglers. This was a bully overcompensating, letting all of its insecurities flush through its fists and onto an innocent, unknowing victim.
(Don’t click if you can’t handle a little blood.)
It took Real Madrid 25 minutes to get on the board, though the haymakers started landing after Gareth Bale’s opener. Starting at the half-hour mark, Cristiano Ronaldo recorded the fastest Real Madrid hat trick in 55 years (non-penalties version). In the second half, two goals from Karim Benzema were complemented by a pair from Ronaldo, who posted El Real’s first five-goal performance since 2002 (Fernando Morientes). Add in an exchange of goals in the 74th and 83rd minutes, and los Merengues had their eight-goal win – a ridiculous and embarrassing margin.
Don’t get me wrong: I say embarrassing with the greatest of admiration. I wish there was an equivalent of a 9-1 win in my industry. Maybe SoccerGods.com should challenge another web site to some kind of traffic-off? Only to reproduce the Madrid versus Granada dynamic (we are decidedly not a Real Madrid), we’d need to challenge the soccer section of a high school newspaper. And after a couple of hours of putting up content and demolishing their traffic totals, we’d probably pull up, call it a day, and stroke our rebuilt egos knowing we could have piled on.
Real Madrid, however, didn’t. Fair enough. All the players out there were professionals. The game was only going to last 90 minutes. No adult should be left with permanent scars after a soccer game. And yet, long before Ronaldo scored his final goal in the 89th (!) minute, there was that feeling – that a fragile, hurt bully had pinned his victim, was ignoring the crack of bone and the sight of blood, and was releasing every bit of supressed inadequacy onto something innocent.
No, this wasn’t Piper pummeling Pennsatucky. That meth head had her beatdown coming. This is more like Serena Williams winning 6-0, 6-0, then insisting on playing a third set. It’s like Steph Curry dropping 51 on J.J. Barea, then shaming him into playing one-on-one (I’d pay to watch that game, though). It’s greedy, excessive, embarrassing, sad, but at the same time, understandable. Just as Norton needed to ruin something beautiful, Real Madrid needs to do something ridiculous.
As Granada left the Bernabéu, there had to be a sense of “What did we do to deserve that?” Nothing, of course. All Granada did was show up after an international break, run into a team that had both Luka Modric and James Rodríguez back in midfield, and proceed to take its ass-kicking. Like Angel Face, there was nothing it could do.
If Fight Club taught us anything about this type of aggression, Real Madrid has probably fabricated an alter ego, is forming a gang of similarly insecure clubs, and will shoot itself in the jaw by firing Carlo Ancelotti. Then La Liga will crumble around them as it fails to implement a new television deal.
In the interim, though, expect a few more outbursts. Ronaldo & Friends are clearly still working through their issues.