Just as parents spill a couple of drops from a baby bottle on their wrist to check if it’s too hot, it only takes me five minutes of a match to work out Real Madrid.
And, on the day of the Madrid derby, after five minutes it was clear to me. They really believed they could win the Champions League again. And they can win it, as simple as it sounds, and at the same time as difficult as it is to imagine for any other club in the world.
The problem is that, until the second leg against Liverpool and the hypothetical quarter-final draw, there are more competitions at stake.
In just a few days, Real Madrid have let Atletico Madrid and Barcelona escape the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu alive.
Probably the worst versions of the two teams to have visited the Bernabeu in recent years took away a point in LaLiga Santander and a 1-0 win in the Copa del Rey.
It happened to the despair of the Real Madrid fans, who are fed up with seeing their team squander opportunities time and time again when they are vastly superior to that Barcelona team that stood in front of them on the pitch.
And no, Real Madrid did not play well against Barcelona. In a sport that is based on putting the ball into the net, if the game ends and you haven’t managed a single shot on target, you can’t have played well.
No matter how much have you nullified the rivals – as Real Madrid did – it is useless.
And it is worrying that Carlo Ancelotti, who is the one who should have changed the game from the bench, or by fielding a different line-up, came out after the game to say that everything had been fine.
He indicated that they should do the same at the Camp Nou, when the reality is that Barcelona did not suffer.
Real Madrid were made up again by many tacticians and a single dagger in Vinicius, who was contained by Ronald Araujo and Frenkie de Jong in an extraordinary way.
With no other alternatives to do any damage, Xavi Hernandez watched from the window of the bus as the minutes passed without suffering any scratches.
In one week, the euphoria unleashed after the display at Anfield has been deflated again. Perhaps Ancelotti should end his pre-match talks by playing the Champions League anthem at full blast in the dressing room and we’ll see if that would help.