Sneijder's Past It & Other Lessons Learnt From Real Madrid v Galatasaray

A routine 3-0 win saw Real Madrid firmly in the driving seat in the Champions League tie with Galatasaray, but what else did we learn from the encounter at the Bernabeu?
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A routine 3-0 win saw Real Madrid firmly in the driving seat in the Champions League tie with Galatasaray, but what else did we learn from the encounter at the Bernabeu?

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Real Madrid all but secured their place in the Champions League semi-finals for the third consecutive season with a routine 3-0 win over Galatasaray on Wednesday night. So what did we learn from Jose Mourinho's men's clash with the Turkish champions?

Sneijder Is A Shadow Of His Former Self

Wesley Sneijder looked like the confident man of old in Madrid, unfortunately for the Dutch international that was in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

Once it came to playing the game, Sneijder looked off the pace and wasn't even well off target with two of his trademark shots from distance.

Indeed so anonymous was Sneijder in the first-half that he was substituted at half-time by boss Fatih Terim as he looked to gain some sort of control in midfield.

All in all it was an embarrassing return to the Bernabeu for a player who arguably enjoyed the best night of his career there under Mourinho when Inter Milan won the Champions League in 2010.

Ozil Calls The Tune

Sneijder's lack of impact was all the more noticeable as it was Madrid's creative number 10 that ran the game, particularly in the first-half.

Mesut Ozil's trademark defence splitting pass to Cristiano Ronaldo for the opening goal got Madrid going and his vision and weight of pass was a joy to behold all evening.

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Ronaldo's 9-9-9 Call

Nine minutes was all it took the unstoppable Portuguese to score his ninth goal in nine Champions League games this season.

Ronaldo is now out on his on as top-scorer in the competition, one ahead of Lionel Messi and Burak Yilmaz.

Benzema And Higuain Respond

As great as Ronaldo's goalscoring feats have been again this season, Madrid's problem has been the lack of support he has received in the goalscoring stakes.

Both Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain have been heavily criticised in the Spanish press over recent months for their lack of fitness and form, with some even wanting youngster Alvaro Morata given his opportunity.

However, both found the target when it mattered most on Wednesday and if they can find the form they showed last season, it is hard to find a weakness in this Madrid side.

'Convenient' Yellows Could Be A Big Problem For Ramos And Alonso

However, the nine-times winners path to Wembley in May could be heavily influence by how Uefa interpret the yellow cards received (or as the Spanish say, 'forced') by Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso.

The Spanish international duo will now miss the return in Istanbul and picked up the yellows once the tie was already over at 3-0, meaning they would be free to play in the semi-finals with no danger of suspension hanging over them.

However, both were suspended for an extra game after being deliberately sent-off against Ajax in 2010 with the same intent and European football's governing body have already showed their intent to clamp down on such 'convenient' cards this season.

Levante defender Sergio Ballesteros did the same in his side's penultimate Europa League group game against Helsingborg with the Spanish side already through to ensure he would be free to play in the first-leg of the last-32.

Yet, his one-match suspension was also extended for an extra game.