It was all about Cristiano Ronaldo. Some 45,000 Real Madrid fans donned masks on Wednesday night to pay tribute to the Portuguese, while the ultras at the Santiago Bernabeu called for the Ballon d'Or to be awarded to their star man. But like Lionel Messi for Barcelona the night before, Ronaldo was absent through injury.
Messi's problem is more serious, with the Argentine currently out until next year with a hamstring injury. Ronaldo, though, was forced to sit out when he had hoped to impress one last time as Ballon d'Or voting closed on Friday. The game's two finest footballers have almost always been available over the last few seasons, but suddenly - and coincidentally - they were both missing at the same time.
So how did their teams cope without them?
Both Barca and Madrid have come to depend greatly upon the pair in recent seasons and why wouldn't they? Take the best player out of any team and that side will likely lack something. When that player is one of the world's finest, a void becomes inevitable.
|THE BALLON D'OR CURSE...
- Sports & Recreation
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Lionel Messi
- Real Madrid