Madrid excelling without Ronaldo, under Ancelotti

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2014 at 11:43 am •  Published: February 17, 2014
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MADRID (AP) — No Cristiano Ronaldo? No problem.

Real Madrid's title ambitions continue to gain credence, with the Spanish giant showing no dip despite missing the Ballon d'Or winner.

Ronaldo has one more league game to serve from a three-match ban, and cannot return before next week's Champions League game at Schalke.

No matter, as Madrid stretched its unbeaten run to 25 games in all competitions with a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Getafe on Sunday.

With and without Ronaldo, Madrid under coach Carlo Ancelotti has looked the more consistent, well-balanced team following a poor start to the campaign, with co-Spanish leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid enduring erratic runs of late.

Gareth Bale has excelled when not nagged by injuries, while players like Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Jese Rodriguez have been standouts.

"I think the key to our success is that the team is unified," fullback Dani Carvajal said on Monday. "Everyone is contributing to the smallest detail, whether they are playing little or a lot."

Jese has scored in five of his last six games, and has been slotted instantly into the attack whenever Ronaldo or Bale have been out. Spanish media are already touting the Spain Under-21 standout for a place in world champion Spain's squad despite the rich attacking talent that includes Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Llorente, Diego Costa, and Fernando Torres.

"I'm not surprised by his play because he's playing great matches and scoring," Ancelotti said. "We've already said a lot of good things about him, I just hope he keeps up like this."

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