Real Madrid and Villarreal fought with their all on the field on Saturday night in a game that eventually ended 3-2 in Quique Setien’s side’s favour. Yet, one incident transcended the brawls on the field and stole the headlines on Sunday morning.
The main feature of the story was Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde punching Villarreal’s Alejandro Baena in the face after the game. The incident took place in the bus area where the Uruguayan waited for the Villarreal player’s arrival before exchanging words and smacking him one in the face while he was using his phone.
According to MARCA, the backstory for the same dates back to the last time the two teams met in the Copa del Rey. After a crunching tackle on Valverde on the night, Baena made a nasty comment about the midfielder’s personal life on a topic that he has, on many occasions, revealed to be his point of weakness.
“Cry now that your son is not going to be born,” he told Valverde who was dangerously close to losing his second child earlier this year.
Doctors had given the couple a very poor prognosis for the case, and the situation pushed Valverde to the edge of a psychological breakdown. Later, however, the player and his partner found out the baby was healthy which also led to Valverde’s thumb-sucking celebration in the Club World Cup final.
Baena is understood to have made more incendiary comments towards Valverde during last night’s match as well and that did not go down with the Real Madrid midfielder.
Confronting him near the Villarreal bus last night, Valverde got his revenge with physical aggression, by allegedly punching Baena.
The police were present during the incident and Villarreal have the entire footage on video. The Yellow Submarines will not file any complaint over the events, and everything is in the hands of Baena who has come out on his social media to deny all allegations of making statements about Valverde’s child.
“Fede never has problems with anyone and this has been due to something very serious that comes from before,” the midfielder’s entourage told MARCA.
It remains to be seen how the situation evolved and whether legal action will be taken against Real Madrid’s Uruguayan star. The story could drag on for months to come unless the two players find solace off the field.
Ancelotti sets a target for Real Madrid to achieve before facing Barcelona in La Liga
Real Madrid are currently the frontrunners to win the La Liga title this season, having established a solid lead atop the table.
After 26 matchdays, Carlo Ancelotti’s Los Blancos have built a six-point lead over second-placed Girona and are eight clear of arch-rivals Barcelona in third.
Ancelotti sets a target
While Real Madrid have already faced Girona and Atletico Madrid twice in La Liga already, they still have to face Barcelona for the second time.
And, as per AS, manager Carlo Ancelotti has set a target for his Real Madrid side to achieve before they face off against Xavi Hernandez’s Barça in a few weeks.
Los Blancos host their bitter rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu in the weekend of April 20-21, in matchweek 32.
And before that, Ancelotti wants Real Madrid to reach 80 points in La Liga, which he believes is the safety point for his team to go on to win the title.
As things stand, the Merengues are on 65 points from 26 games and have five matches to play in the league before they face Barcelona.
And for them to achieve Ancelotti’s intended target, they will have to win each of their matches between now and April 20, which will be anything but straightforward.
After all, Real Madrid are set to face Valencia at a hostile Mestalla this weekend before they take on a Celta Vigo side battling to avoid relegation next week.
Following that, they face a tricky Osasuna side away from home and Athletic Club at home while they will also take on Copa del Rey finalists RCD Mallorca.
Ancelotti wants the La Liga title race wrapped up by this point so that the team can face Barcelona without any pressure and instead keep their focus on the UEFA Champions League, provided they progress in the tournament.
It will be easier said than done, but if we have learned anything from Real Madrid this season, it is that they thrive in the face of adversities.