This weekend’s round of matches in La Liga mark the half way point in the season and there is plenty of talk in the main Madrid papers about who is the ‘Champion of Winter’ – the Campeon de Invieno.
The top two, Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid, go head-to-head this evening in the stand out fixture, but Los Blancos face a tricky task away at Espanyol on Sunday as they seek to close the gap on the leaders.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti has spoken in recent weeks about taking each game one by one, and the need for the senior players to use their experience and help the younger players around them. Marca points out that the renewal of Xabi Alonso’s contract will be key for Asier Illarramendi, who signed from Real Sociedad in the summer.
The young central midfielder has seen his path to first-team football blocked this season, but Marca says having Xabi Alonso around for another two years will help rather than hinder the player as he looks to cement his place in the Real midfield for years to come.
Away from the build up to the match there is also attention on the upcoming Ballon d’Or ceremony. And in a further indication that Cristiano Ronaldo will be awarded the prize, he was named as the best player in the world by newspaper Le Bateur, which carried out a vote by media representatives from 22 Arab countries.