Real Madrid drops points again, and might as well give up in La Liga

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Maxi Gomez equalized with a late header against <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/real-madrid/" data-ylk="slk:Real Madrid">Real Madrid</a>. (Getty)
Maxi Gomez equalized with a late header against Real Madrid. (Getty)

Real Madrid is now 16 points behind Barcelona in La Liga after a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo. And even with a game in hand, the reigning Spanish champions might as well wave the white flag.

That’s not to say Madrid should mope about its misfortune, and give up on its season altogether. It’s not about quitting. It’s about allocating energy elsewhere. La Liga is no longer worth the time.

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And while that’s a disaster for a club that expects to win every competition it enters, Madrid’s forgettable campaign might not be the worst thing in the world.

As Los Blancos continue to struggle, expectations that they’ll recover and find their form become more and more far-fetched. Even the return of Gareth Bale couldn’t stem the tide on Sunday. Bale scored twice, but Madrid conceded an 82nd-minute equalizer to Celta’s Maxi Gomez:

There was no response. Only hung heads, and rueful looks as players trudged off the pitch. In fact, there was almost a winner for the hosts. Iago Aspas went down in the box after taking a touch past Marcelo, and raged at the lack of a whistle.

Madrid has been underwhelming all season. In La Liga. In the Champions League. In the Club World Cup. Everywhere. As it continues to struggle, it continues to fall further and further behind still-unbeaten Barcelona. Sunday, Madrid’s first game back from Spain’s winter break, felt like a breaking point.

But Madrid still has talent. That’s the key point here. It also has PSG coming up in the Champions League Round of 16. And if it allocates its focus correctly, it essentially has more than a month to prepare solely for that game; to ensure players are fresh; to ignore domestic opponents and scout the Parisians.

English and Spanish clubs have always rued the fact that PSG can concentrate solely on the continental competition because its Ligue 1 opponents don’t trouble it. That excuse should no longer apply. It’s time for Real Madrid to throw all its eggs in the Champions League basket.

The 2017-18 La Liga season has been a nightmare. Such a nightmare that it’s now over. And as Real prepares for a run at a fourth European title in five years, the fact that it has been so bad back at home might be a blessing in disguise.

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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