This is Real life. In the hours before this unlikely title decider, posters had gone up near the Santiago Bernabéu declaring that Girona were forever dreaming; if so, a cruel awakening awaited them. Carlo Ancelotti had insisted that whatever happened here the title race was not run but by the end it was hard not to see this as definitive. It was not only that Real Madrid beat their nearest, most unexpected rivals for La Liga to go five points clear, it was the way they did it.
Jude Bellingham scored two goals while Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo each scored one, making a statement with their victory. This season, Girona has been outstanding, but Madrid proved to be too strong and reaffirmed their dominance. According to Ancelotti, it was their best performance of the season in every aspect, and the timing could not have been more perfect. Vinícius, in particular, stood out, with his coach calling him the best in the world. His fellow Brazilian and opponent Yan Couto was overwhelmed and left in tears at the end of the game.
The manager of Girona, Míchel Sánchez, stated that it was made clear to them that they are not at the same level as their opponents. Their team has only lost twice, both times to Madrid. The total score was 7-0, with Madrid winning 3-0 in Catalonia and now 4-0 in the capital. The rebellion was quickly squashed.
Girona, who has been a standout team in La Liga, had reached this point by sticking to their playing style and had no plans of altering it. However, as Mike Tyson once famously said, everyone has a plan until they face adversity. Despite Girona dominating possession in the first few minutes, it only took Madrid five minutes to score the first of many goals. The goal came unexpectedly, with Vinícius cutting in from the left and powerfully shooting the ball into the far corner from the edge of the box.
Paulo Gazzaniga was given no opportunity to succeed, and neither were his fellow players. Despite the match only being five minutes in, Girona persisted in their efforts to play. However, Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga and Fede Valverde kept Toni Kroos close, preventing them from having the room to do so. And when they did have some space, Madrid demonstrated their dominance and confidence, serving as a reminder of their true capabilities. In the end, this was a complete annihilation.
In the first half, Girona did not manage to get a shot on goal. The fact that the two players who are not typically center-backs went unnoticed is a testament to the strong performances of Aurélien Tchouaméni and Dani Carvajal. Ancelotti’s team handled the situation excellently and were unstoppable. Kroos was in complete control, effortlessly executing diagonal passes. Camavinga was constantly present on the field. Vinícius was full of energy and made a big impact.
The Brazilian player delivered an incredible pass that allowed Madrid to increase their lead. From the far right side of the field, he used the outside of his right foot to send the ball to Bellingham. Bellingham then got past Gazzaniga with his right foot and scored with his left. This goal was his fifteenth in the league, making him the sole top scorer, and he still had more to come.
Girona attempted to make a comeback in the second half, but Madrid quickly shut them down once again. The same two players teamed up to score the third goal, with Vinícius heading in from the right and then dribbling the ball with his studs before passing it from his right foot to his left. He managed to get past three defenders and shoot the ball through a pair of legs, leaving Gazzaniga with no chance to save it. Bellingham was substituted soon after to a round of applause, but he seemed to be limping slightly. Madrid continued to dominate, with Rodrygo scoring the fourth goal and the crowd at the magnificent arena erupting into song. “This is how Madrid wins,” the lyrics go.