12.21.2011

Real Madrid 5 - 1 Ponferradina (Spanish Cup Last 32 2nd Leg)

Real Madrid did their homework before leaving the holidays: they top the league table with a three-point cushion, they've made it to the UCL Last 16 having the best run in the history of the championship's group stage, and they've also reached the Copa del Rey Last 16. Mourinho's men sealed 2011 brilliantly, looking to keep the streak up throughout 2012.

Callejon's Cup

Many new faces made the starting lineup, including academy left back Casado. Mourinho wanted to give other players a chance to shine, but he still used Pepe, Ozil, Khedira and Benzema in the starting eleven. The Whites took things slowly against Ponferradina, who intended to leave a good impression at the Bernabeu.

Real kept possession and eventually scored through Callejon, who defeated the keeper with a crossed shot after receiving a long pass from Ozil. Ponferradina did not give up and tried to stand their ground. The match unfolded without much ado until Callejon nearly scored again on the 25-minute mark sending the ball to the crossbar. The Madridistas' second strike arrived just before half-time when Sahin headed in a corner-kick served by Ozil (44').

Right after half-time, Granero served a free-kick that was cleared by the goalkeeper. The ball was picked up by Varane, who tallied the third strike (48'). Ponferradina tried to fight back and looked for a goal of their own to save face, eventually finding it through Acoran, who defeated Adan from outside the box.

The strike encouraged the visitors to look for another goal, but Real Madrid continued to control the match albeit without having many more chances to score. Mourinho allowed the academy's Nacho to come on for Casado. Benzema then had a couple chances to tally a fourth, but he was unlucky.

The French striker was replaced by Joselu in the 77th minute and the youth teamer only needed 20 seconds to net the fourth after receiving a pass from Callejon on the goal-line. Pacheco came on for Adan a few minutes later (82'), becoming the 14th academy player to make his official debut with Mourinho.

Callejon sealed the match with another goal assisted by Sahin, and he nearly scored a third of his own had it not been by a good save from Orlando.

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 52,000
Goals: 1-0, m.25: Callejón. 2-0, m.44: Sahin. 3-0, m.48: Varane. 3-1, m.53: Acorán. 4-1, m.78: Joselu. 5-1, m.88: Callejón.

12.18.2011

Sevilla 2 - 6 Real Madrid (Spanish League Day 17)

Real Madrid pulled rank in Seville, defeating Sevilla 2-6 at the Sanchez Pizjuan. The victory allows the Whites to be sole leaders on the table. Cristiano Ronaldo, whom so many criticised this past week, gave a stellar performance and scored a hat-trick, bringing his total tally up to 20 strikes to top the Pichichi Trophy table on his own.

Super-Cristiano scored a hat-trick to destroy Sevilla

Callejon made the starting lineup, having gained the confidence of Mourinho thanks to his excellent performances of late. Both teams upped the pace of the game in the opening minutes, with Sevilla putting pressure in attack and preventing Real Madrid from creating ball movement comfortably. Di Maria soon came to the fore, serving an amazing assist to Ronaldo, who started the pour (10').

Hurt, Sevilla put Iker Casillas to the test time and again, forcing the keeper to make a spectacular save similar to that against Perotti at the same venue back in 2009: Navas served a ball on the goal-line to Manu del Moral, whose shot the keeper sent to the post following an amazing stretch (12'). Casillas again saved the day against Trochowski (16') in what proved to be the most difficult moments in the match for Real.

The Whites gradually got rid of the local's pressure and, on the 37-minute mark, Di Maria again served an impossible assist to Callejon, who scored from a slight touch on the ball over Varas' exit. The strike hurt Sevilla and Ronaldo used this to finish them off with an impressive 25-metre goal (40'). Pepe was sent off three minutes later with a second booking, forcing Mourinho to replace Callejon with Albiol.

The locals tried to cut distances short after half-time, but the Madridistas continued to have chances to score. Eventually, Benzema served a great ball to Di Maria, who broke the offside and defeated Varas with ease (65'). The Argentine was replaced one minute later by Khedira. Sevilla were battered and bruised, but they still tried for a goal and Navas defeated Casillas on the 69-minute mark with a crossed shot.

Real still wanted more. Manu del Moral was sent off in the 73rd minute for a late challenge on Arbeloa and Fazio then brought Benzema down in the box, giving a penalty to the Whites that was converted by Ronaldo. The French striker was hurt and Altintop took his place. The Turkish midfielder scored the team's sixth strike three minutes later, his first for Real Madrid (88'). Negredo eventually tallied a second goal for the locals in injury time.

Summary

Stadium: Sanchez Pizjuan
Attendance: 40,000
Goals: 1-0, M.10: Cristiano Ronaldo. 0-2, M.37: Callejón. 0-3, M.40: Cristiano Ronaldo. 0-4, M.65: Di María. 1-4, M.69: Navas. 1-5, M.85: Cristiano Ronaldo. 1-6, M.88: Altintop. 2-6, M.91: Negredo.

12.14.2011

Ponferradina 0 - 2 Real Madrid (Spanish Cup Last 32 1st Leg)

Jose Mourinho had said he was going to us a side capable of earning a good result to allow his team to seal the tie at the Bernabeu next week, and that's just what fans saw against Ponferradina. Callejon was the man of the match and scored a goal. The other was netted by Cristiano Ronaldo. The locals fought hard, but the Whites eventually proved their superiority despite being down to ten men in the last 22 minutes after Albiol was sent off.

Callejon was the man of the match

Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Higuain, Marcelo and Khedira made the starting lineup. Ponferradina were extremely motivated, fought for every ball and put pressure all over the pitch, but they were bound to lower the pace of their performance eventually. Meanwhile, Real Madrid remained calm, controlled the ball and gradually started to have chances to score. Cristiano nearly netted the opener but Quintana cleared his first shot (21'). The Portuguese came close to finishing off a good cross from Callejon two minutes later, and the midfielder eventually tallied the first strike on the 28-minute mark following a pass into the box by Khedira.

The locals' spirit seemed crushed after the goal and Varane nearly scored a header immediately after it. Yuri continually tried to get close to Adan's goal, but the Whites' defence was solid throughout.

Ponferradina had the same drive after half-time and Domenech even hit the crossbar with a long shot (50'). Real Madrid were patient and played a slower game than usual, but were in control nonetheless. Albiol was sent off on the 68-minute mark with a double booking, making Mourinho react by bringing Granero and Ramos on for Sahin and Kaka.

Greater numbers gave the locals wings and the crowd began to drive them on, but this made them leave open spaces that Real used to their advantage, eventually scoring a second goal when a long pass from Higuain was picked up by Ronaldo, who defeated Quintana with a crossed shot (73'). Four minutes later, the Portuguese striker was replaced by the academy's Jese, who therefore made his official debut with the first team.

The locals looked to make a comeback in the final minutes to no avail. The crowd gave their team a standing ovation at the end of the clash given their great efforts against Real Madrid.

Summary

Stadium: El Toralin
Attendance: 8,500
Goals: 0-1, m.28: Callejón. 0-2, m.73: Cristiano Ronaldo.

12.11.2011

Real Madrid 1 - 3 Barcelona (Spanish League Day 16)

It is said small details decide the outcome of Clasicos and tonight was a clear example of that. Three instances could tip the scales one way or the other. The first was Benzema's goal only 23 seconds into the game, capitalasing from a mistake by Valdes. The second was Barcelona's second strike, which came from a shot from outside the box that went into the back of the net after being accidentally deflected by Marcelo and the far post. The third instance was Cristiano Ronaldo's missed header that could have drawn the match 2-2. This was followed by the effort that resulted in Barcelona's third goal. That was the Clasico in a nutshell. The visiting side made better use of three defining instances, but the Whites nevertheless continue to depend on themselves and could be sole leaders on the table by defeating or drawing against Sevilla next week.

Barcelona defeated again Real Madrid at Bernabeu Stadium

Following last week's suspension, Xabi Alonso made the starting lineup and Coentrao was positioned as right back. Lass made the midfield, leaving Khedira on the bench. The game couldn't have had a more auspicious start for the locals, with Benzema scoring only 23 seconds into the game by capitalising on a mistake by Valdes, who gave the ball to Di Maria in a bad clearance. The Argentine then passed it to Ozil, who shot on target, but ended up hitting Busquets instead. The deflection was then taken up by Benzema, who scored the fastest goal in the history of the Clasico. Real started to dominate the match due to this being a harsh blow on Guardiola's side, but Barça gradually started to have more possession and scored the equaliser from a fast effort finished off by Alexis (29'). The game evened out until half-time.

The second half started with a key effort: Xavi hit the ball outside the box and the shot, which didn't seem dangerous at first, hit Marcelo and a post before entering the goal (52'). Real Madrid were forced to make a comeback and focused on attacking, leaving their goal wide open. This gave way to Barcelona counterattacks. Mourinho then made Khedira and Kaka come on for Lass and Ozil.

Cristiano Ronaldo came close to netting the equaliser from a missed header on the 64-minute mark. Football then showed its cruelest face to Real by rewarding Barcelona with another strike when Fabregas headed in an Alves cross. The fans continued to support the team to the death despite the goal and showed how very proud they are of Mourinho's side.

Kaka came close to cutting distances short in the 83rd minute, but Valdes cleared his shot with a great save. Madrid kept trying to score any way they could, but Barcelona snatched the victory in the end. The Whites will now focus on Tuesday's Copa del Rey match against Ponferradina.

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 83,500
Goals: 1-0. Min.1. Benzema; 1-1. Min. 29. Alexis; 1-2. Min. 52. Xavi. 1-3. Min. 64. Cesc.

12.07.2011

Ajax Amsterdam 0 - 3 Real Madrid (UCL Day 6)

Real Madrid sealed a perfect run in the UCL group stage in Amsterdam. The Whites earned a 15th straight victory against Ajax, something they hadn't done since the 1960/61 campaign. The Dutch team had two goals wrongly disallowed and were eliminated from the championship due to Olympique Lyonnais' 7-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb. With 18 points and a +17 goal-average, Real Madrid have had the best performance given by any team in the Champions League group stage.

Higuain scored again in an European game

Mourinho made several changes to his starting lineup, with Adan, Albiol, Varane, Sahin, Granero and Callejon all playing as starters. The manager said earlier this week that his men would be entirely focused on winning the clash and they proved him right by scoring 13 minutes into the game: Kaka saw Callejon running free from markers, assisted him, and the midfielder tallied the first strike of the evening with his left.

Ajax pressurised more intensely and Van der Wiel forced Adan to make a save on the 31-minute mark with a powerful shot from outside the box. Lodeiro scored from the following effort, but referee De Sousa wrongly disallowed it following instructions from his linesman. Another local goal was wrongly disallowed four minutes later; it came from a long shot by Anita that was deflected inside the box by Sulejmani.

This forced Real Madrid to pull rank and finish off the game. Benzema saw how Higuain avoided his markers and assisted him with a long pass (41') in an effort similar to the first goal's.

Ajax were constantly putting a siege on Madrid's goal after half-time and nearly tallied a strike from a Sulejmani lob that hit the crossbar. Mourinho strengthened his midfield making Altintop come on for Benzema (53’) and later replaced Granero with Alonso (58').

Ajax continued to put Adan to the test with shots from outside the area, while Mourinho allowed youth teamer Mendes to make his first team debut by taking Arbeloa off (66'). The final minutes of the clash were pure agony for the locals and Callejon sentenced it on the 91-minute mark after being assisted by Alonso.

Summary

Stadium: Amsterdam Arena
Attendance: 52,000
Goals: 0-1. Min.13. Callejón. 0-2. Min. 41. Higuaín. 0-3. Min. 91. Callejón.

12.04.2011

Sporting Gijon 0 - 3 Real Madrid (Spanish League Day 15)

Real Madrid pulled rank in Gijon and earned a solid victory over Sporting with goals from Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo. The Whites were superior despite the absence of Xabi Alonso and proved to be in excellent form one week before the Clasico.

Di Maria opened the lock with his goal

Mourinho made Lass take Alonso's place and positioned Coentrao as a right back. The Portuguese manager knew Sporting were going to play a tough game that would tire his men by forcing them to over-exhert themselves physically. The locals stayed in their half of the pitch waiting for the Madridistas to make mistakes, and Real hardly found any room to manouvre and connect with Higuain through the defensive line. Neither side had chances on goal until a Di Maria shot on the 19-minutre mark was impressively cleared by Juan Pablo. The Whites continued to dominate as the minutes passed, but no goals were scored.

Then, in the 34th minute, Di Maria stole the ball from an overly confident Damian, entered the box and, when everyone expected him to pass it back to a teammate, he surprised Juan Pablo with a solid shot. The goal forced the locals to start attacking more and to abandon their ultra-defensive system. Sporting started to challenge Casillas on occasion, but the goalkeeper saved all their shots with relative ease.

The locals hardly took risks after half-time and looked for chances to attack by way of Real Madrid mistakes rather than their own merits. Botia had the clearest chance in the 59th minute with a header that missed the mark. Soon after that, Di Maria served a spectacular assists to Cristiano Ronaldo, who controlled the ball and nutmegged Juan Pablo to tally the team's second strike of the evening (64'). This was the Portuguese player's 17th goal in La Liga this season.

Preciado made changes to his team trying to cut distances short, but things actually started looking worse for the locals. Higuain nearly scored a third in a one-on-one (70'), and three minutes later Albiol came on for Di Maria, who had clearly been the man of the match. Benzema replaced Higuain two minutes after that.

The remainder of the clash was somewhat easy going for Real. Casillas hardly felt threatened and Eguren was sent off with a double booking on the 79-minute mark. Kaka came on and nearly scored in the 88th minute, but Juan Pablo managed to send the ball out to corner-kick. Benzema also came close to tallying a third strike, which was eventually scored by Marcelo following an amazing individual effort.

Summary

Stadium: El Molinon
Attendance: 27,000
Goals: 0-1. Min. 34. Di María; 0-2. Min. 64. Cristiano Ronaldo; 0-3. Min. 90. Marcelo.

11.27.2011

Real Madrid 4 - 1 Atletico Madrid (Spanish League Day 14)

Jose Mourinho said the derby against Atletico would be difficult, aware of how the very nature of these games transform the teams that play them. Atletico's intention was to give the game a sort of stop-start nature, especially after Courtois was sent off. Eventually, after 45 minutes they couldn't keep this up any longer and Real Madrid turned the score around and showered them with goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the last goal of the match

Atletico positioned themselves well on the pitch and even tried to score on occasion, eventually netting their only strike of the evening when Adrian defeated Casillas while possibly being offside. Real Madrid reacted and Di Maria served a perfect pass to Benzema, who was tackled in the area by Courtois. Cristiano Ronaldo took the penalty and netted the equaliser.

Atletico decided to try to stop Real with fouls and this kept Mourinho's men from having clear chances on Asenjo's goal. Nevertheless, Benzema had a good one, but Dominguez only just managed to clear his shot.

The Whites truly worked on winning the clash after half-time. Cristiano Ronaldo crossed the ball into the box on the 48-minute mark and Di Maria finished it off beautifully. Atletico stayed close to their box trying to cover spaces as best they could, but in the 64th minute, Godin made a huge mistake in a clearance and Higuain, having just come on for Di Maria, snatched the ball from Asenjo and scored a third for the team.

Godin was sent off on the 82-minute mark, giving another penalty to Real that was again converted by Ronaldo, sealing the match 4-1 and giving the Madridistas a 13th straight win this season.

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 80,000
Goals: 0-1, m. 16: Adrián. 1-1, m. 24: Cristiano Ronaldo (pen). 2-1, m. 50: Di María. 3-1, m. 64: Higuain; 4-1, m. 82: Cristiano Ronaldo (pen).

11.23.2011

Real Madrid 6 - 2 Dinamo Zagreb (UCL Day 5)

Real Madrid needed only eight minutes to resolve tonight's clash against Dinamo Zagreb with three goals, and therefore establishing a new record in the European championship. Sahin made his starting debut in a spectacular performance of the Whites against an opponent that hardly fought back.

Benzema and Özil celebrate one of the Real Madrid goals

Real's 1,500th official match at the Bernabeu saw Casillas, Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Khedira start on the bench, but despite the changes on the lineup the Madridistas' hunger was a strong as ever, tallying three goals in the opening eight minutes, a first in the Champions League. Benzema started the pour in the 2nd minute and was followed by Callejon four minutes later and by Higuain on the 8-minute mark with an individual effort.

Mourinho's men took a breather and lowered the pace of the game by extending their possession while Zagreb hardly left their box. A Kelava clerance landed at Ozil's feet and the German easily tallied a fourth for his team.

Granero, Altintop and Albiol came on for Ramos, Ozil and Xabi Alonso at the start of the second half, which unfolded very much like the first. Callejon defeated Kelava again after being assisted by Varane (48') and Real continued to hammer the visitors, who just waited for them to get tired of scoring goals; Kelava made a couple of solid saves to clear shots by Higuain and Callejon.

A spectacular heel pass from Higuain to Benzema on the edge of the box kickstarted and individual effort of the French striker, who controlled the ball, entered the box and netted the team's sixth and final strike of the evening. This way, Real Madrid reached their best goal tally in the Champions League against Genk of the 2002/03 campaign. Then, when everyone thought Madrid would continue to score more strikes, Zagreb tallied one of their own on the 80-minute mark from a Beqiraj header in the first chance they had on Adan's goal.

The Whites fought back and nearly scored again through Benzema, whose spectacular bicycle-kick shot hit the crossbar. Tomecak netted a second strike for Dinamo again in the final minute, but this final action did not tarnish Real's spectacular victory one bit. The Whites will go thorugh to the Last 16 as group leaders with one game yet to be played in the group stage.

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 73,000
Goals: 1-0, m.2: Benzema. 2-0, m. 6: Callejón. 3-0, m. 9: Higuaín. 4-0, m. 20: Özil. 5-0, m. 49: Callejón. 6-0, m. 66: Benzema. 6-1, m. 81: Beqiraj. 6-2, m. 90: Tomecak.

11.13.2011

Valencia 2 - 3 Real Madrid (Spanish League Day 13)

Real Madrid suffered to the last minute to earn a victory against Valencia that keeps them at the top of the table. The three points taken at Mestalla will prove important in the fight for the title. The Whites are the first side to win at the stadium this season.

Real Madrid players celebrate the victory

Real Madrid wore red for the first time ever in La Liga tonight. That was the first surprise of the night, the other being the presence of Lass, Khedira and Alonso all together in midfield. Valencia pressurised hard in the opening minutes, but thanks to the presence of the centre midfielders the Whites held their own, while Ronaldo and Benzema made the locals struggle on occasion. The Frenchman had a chance to net the opener on the 11-minute mark, but his shot was off target only by inches.

Benzema wouldn't be as forgiving a few minutes later and defeated Alves with his left foot following a free-kick by Alonso. Valencia didn't know how to react and Real gained control of the game, looking for a counterattack to finish it off. The Whites nearly scored a second through Ronaldo in the 41st minute after receiving an exceptional pass from Benzema, but his shot was too forced and Alves managed to clear it with his left foot.

Valencia's game was more aggressive in attack after half-time and they made trouble for the Whites, but they also left wide spaces behind them, something lethal against this Real Madrid side. Albiol came on for Arbeloa on the 50-minute mark.

The game started to have a stop-start nature and also became rough to detriment of the Madridistas, who saw too many bookings. Nevertheless, the visitors scored a second strike through a Ramos header following a free-kick served by Ozil (70'). Mourinho then decided to bring Higuain on for Benzema.

Valencia never gave up and Soldado scored a first for his team despite a good save from Casillas (75'). Three minutes later, Alves misjudged a divided ball, loosing it to Cristiano who then tallied a third for his team. But Valencia stood their ground and Soldado scored again on the 82-minute mark, starting a local onslaught on Casillas' goal that even saw another goal by the striker being disallowed (90'). Aduriz, who had previously put Iker's reflexes to the tes, sent the ball to one of the posts as he tried to finish off a free-kick in inury time (94'). This effort brought the game to an end.

Summary

Stadium: Mestalla
Attendance: 45,000
Goals: 0-1, m.20: Benzema. 0-2, m.73. 1-2, m.75: Soldado. 1-3, m.79: Cristiano Ronaldo. 2-3, m.83: Soldado.

11.06.2011

Real Madrid 7 - 1 Osasuna (Spanish League Day 12)

Real Madrid today played a 12:00 (local time) match at the Bernabeu for the first time, defeating Osasuna with a whopping 7-1 score thanks in part to yet another Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick. Nuri Sahin made his debut and received a standing ovation from the crowd, which is anxious to see last season's top Bundesliga player in action.

Benzema and Cristiano punished Osasuna

Higuain and Arbeloa made the starting lineup. Real had a less frantic start to the match today, showcasing less intensity but maintaining their goal scoring instincts intact. They constantly reached Osasuna's box and hardly experienced any trouble near their own goal. An excellent cross from Di Maria was headed in by Ronaldo on the 22-minute mark, starting the ensuing pour that was preceded nonetheless by a cheeky effort from the visitors: Raul Garcia took a free-kick very quickly and Ibrahima controlled the ball, defeating Casillas in a one-on-one (30'). This was Osasuna's fist and only time near the keeper's goal in the entire match.

Real reacted quickly. Di Maria served another cross and Pepe also scored the second from a header. This was a harsh blow to Mendilibar's men. The Whites noticed and looked to seal the match with a third strike, netted by Higuain through one of the top corners of the goal after being assisted by Di Maria inside the area and spectacularly overtaking Lolo.

Unfortunately, Di Maria had to leave the pitch on a stretcher at the start of the second half. Benzema came on for the Argentinean, who had been Real's best man until then. With nothing left to lose, Osasuna started attacking more and Mourinho's men used this to score more goals from counterattacks. In one of these, Ozil reached the opponent's box and was challenged late by Sarustegui, who was sent off with a second booking. Cristiano scored a fourth for the Merengues in the penalty (54') and, three minutes later, tallied another header following a precise cross from Arbeloa.

Osasuna just waited for the match to end as they withstood the locals' onslaught. Benzema scored a fifth for his side in the 61st minute and Mourinho decided to allow Sahin to make his debut amidst the party atmosphere. The Turkish player replaced Khedira and positioned himself next to Xabi Alonso. Callejon then came on for Ozil.

Real logically decreased the intensity of their performance in the last 15 minutes, but they still looked for more goals. Sahin nearly scored from a free-kick and Osasuna continued to make mistakes in defence. Benzema used this to tally the final strike of the match from a powerful shot inside the box. Being one man down completely weakened Osasuna, who offered no resistance until the end of the clash.

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 83,000
Goals: 1-0, m. 23: Cristiano Ronaldo. 1-1, m. 30: Ibrahima. 2-1, m. 34: Pepe. 3-1, m. 40: Higuain. 4-1, m. 54: Cristiano Ronaldo (pen.). 5-1, m. 58: Cristiano Ronaldo. 6-1, m. 62: Benzema. 7-1, m. 81: Benzema.

11.03.2011

O. Lyon 0 - 2 Real Madrid (UCL Day 4)

Real Madrid earned a fourth victory in this season's Champions League by defeating Olympique Lyonnais at Stade Gerland for the first time. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace, tallying his 100th official strike as a Madridista. The Whites have qualified for the Last 16.

Another magical night of Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the two goals of the team

Benzema and Ozil made the starting lineup. Lass played as right back replacing the injured Arbeloa. Mourinho's team played as in recent games, having many chances early on. Benzema nearly netted an opener on the 9-minute mark, forcing Lloris to make the most spectacular save in the match. Cristiano served a free-kick close to the box in the 23rd minute and sent the ball to the back of the net. It was his 99th strike as a Madridista.

Olympique deflated and the Whites had chance after chance under the direction of Ozil and Di Maria. Lloris was his team's best man and agan cleared a Benzema strike, this time inside the box. The keeper later cleared a shot by Ozil (43') and it looked like the Madridistas were being too merciful, so much that Gourcuff eventually faced Casillas alone, but sent the ball over the crossbar.

The locals were more aggressive in attack after half-time, leaving wide open spaces for Real to counterattack in with ease. One was spearheaded by Ozil on the 61-minute mark; he passed the ball to Di Maria and centre back Cris was forced to clear it.

Mourinho made Albiol come on for Coentrao (63') and Cristiano continued his search for his 100th official goal, coming close to getting it from a long shot from outside the box that Lloris strained himself to clear.

Casillas made a double save in the 67th minute and moments later referee Rizzoli awarded the Whites a penalty when Ronaldo was challenged in the area. The Portuguese stepped up and converted it into his much-sought strike.

Higuain came on for Benzema in the 70th minute. Eight minutes later, Briand sent the ball to the crossbar from a header in his team's best chance of the evening. The locals kept looking for a goal in the final minutes to no avail. Callejon came on for Di Maria in the 83rd minute, and Briand again had a chance to score, but having defeated Casillas sent the ball off target (89'). Ozil then nearly tallied a third for Real, but Lloris again saved the day.

Summary

Stadium: Gerland Stadium
Attendance: 39,000
Goals: 0-1, min. 24: Cristiano Ronaldo; 0-2, min.70: Cristiano Ronaldo (pen.)

10.30.2011

Real Sociedad 0 - 1 Real Madrid (Spanish League Day 11)

Real Madrid earned a sixth straight win in La Liga thanks to a goal by Higuain. The great football showcased by Mourinho's team of late scared Real Sociedad, who built a wall around their goal to avoid a pour. Real Madrid had a chance to score three goals before half-time, but they were merciful. The locals were more aggressive in the second half, but the Whites stood their ground and took three points at Anoeta.

Higuain and Coentrao performanced the only goal of the clash
Higuain scored the only goal of the match

Four new faces made Mourinho's lineup: Higuain, Ozil, Lass and Coentrao. Real Sociedad defended fiercely and centre forward Vela was their only creative man in attack. The Whites didn't mind and took possession of the ball, playing in the locals' half of the pitch. Nine minutes into the game, Coentrao served a sensational pass to the box and Higuain sent the ball into goal with a slight touch as Bravo desperately tried to clear it.

The locals continued to play defensively. Casillas didn't intervene in the entire first half, while Bravo was forced to save his team at least two or three times. The Chilean goalkeeper cleared an amazing shot from Di Maria from inside the box on the 40-minute mark.

After half-time, Real Sociedad showcased a more aggressive style and pressurised closer to attack. Mourinho's men lost control of the game, but they never suffered. The manager looked for solutions, making Kaka come on for Ozil (63') and Khedira for Lass (68').

Griezmann took the pitch and put Casillas to the test with a powerful shot from outside the box. The Real Madrid captain strained himself to clear it and sent the ball to corner. It must be said the French player should have seen a red card for a very late challenge on Ramos, but the referee incomprehensibly only showed him a yellow card. The match went crazy from then on as Real Sociedad looked for an equaliser and the Madridistas tried to sentence the game.

Di Maria crossed the ball into the area on the 73-minute mark, but both Cristiano and Ramos failed to reach it, leaving it to pass by Bravo. Benzema came on for Higuain (81') while the locals continued to put a lot of pressure on the Whites. But Real Madrid withstood it and managed to stop their onslaughts with the extraordinary physical and tactical work done by Ramos and Pepe.

Real Madrid have had a perfect run in October, winning all their clashes. They showcased pride and hard work against Real Sociedad. They must now focus on their Champions League game against Olympique Lyonnais, in which a victory would give them a ticket to the Last 16.

Summary

Stadium: Anoeta
Attendance: 27,000
Goal: 0-1 Higuain min.9.

10.28.2011

Real Madrid 3 - 0 Villarreal (Spanish League Day 10)

Real Madrid scare their opponents. They step onto the pitch looking to seal matches from the very beginning. Mourinho's men asphyxiate rivals. Villarreal suffered Malaga's fate tonight, conceding 2 goals in the opening ten minutes. Real Madrid have already tallied 31 strikes in nine games, and they've only conceded six.

Di Maria scored the third Real Madrid goal against Villarreal
Angel Di Maria celebrates his goal against Villarreal

Every player pressurised the opponent after kick-off. Villarreal were scared and couldn't believe their eyes. Benzemamade the starting lineup and led the team's attack. The French striker scored the opener by subtly defeating Diego Lopez after receiving a long pass from Di Maria (5'). Five minutes later, Kaka controlled the ball outside the box with his back to goal, dribbled past Borja Valero and sent a powerful shot to the back of Villarreal's net. Real were winning 2-0 and there were still 80 minutes left in the game.

The Whites played a slower game, but Villarreal still didn't pose a threat. Real cleared a corner-kick on the 30-minute mark and the ball landed at Kaka's feet. The Brazilian gave it to Marcelo, who in turn passed it to Benzema. The French striker then assisted Di Maria with a spectacular long pass and the Argentine netted the team's third strike. The crowd simply went wild.

Real Madrid continued to dominate after half-time albeit at a slower pace. Villarreal still failed to take advantage of this and didn't even get close to the Madridistas' box. Mourinho made Ozil come on for Di Maria in the 69th minute. Villarreal had more possession but still failed to pose a threat on Casillas' goal. The locals simply waited to steal the ball and surprise Diego Lopez in a counterattack.

Benzema received a standing ovation when he came off for Higuain on the 74-minute mark and the crowd extended it for the Argentine striker. Arbeloa had a chance to score five minutes later, but Lopez managed to clear his shot. Moments later, Alonso was replaced by Coentrao, who also received a standing ovation.

In the end, Real just needed a brilliant first half to earn their fifth consecutive victory in La Liga. They will look to seal a perfect run in October on Saturday against Real Sociedad in San Sebastian.

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 55,000
Goals: 1-0, m.6: Benzema; 2-0, m.11: Kaka; 3-0, m.30: Di Maria.

10.23.2011

Malaga 0 - 4 Real Madrid (Spanish League Day 9)

Forty-five minutes of brilliant football and a thunderous performance from Cristiano Ronaldo were all Real Madrid needed to score four goals against Malaga at La Rosaleda. The Whites have tallied 28 strikes in only eight games; Ronaldo has scored ten goals and Higuain nine.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored another hat-trick for Real Madrid

Higuain and Kaka were in the starting lineup. The start to the game was stroppy and each side could have been awarded a penalty. Real Madrid stepped up their performance and started to take control. Higuain soon scored the opener receiving the ball all on his own and defeating Ruben in a one-on-one (10'). The strike was a harsh blow to the locals and they never recovered form it.

Mourinho's men completely dominated the encounter and Di Maria soon served another assist, this time to Cristiano Ronaldo, who defeated Demichelis with a subtle touch on ball (23'). Still wanting more, the Madridistas continued attacking in search of more strikes. Xabi Alonso stole the ball in a throw-in and served it to Ronaldo, who defeated Ruben with a powerful shot. The goal silenced the stands at La Rosaleda.

The icing on the cake was yet to come: Di Maria took a corner-kick and Cristiano scored his third from an acrobatic heel shot (37'). The game was completely over and there was yet a whole half still to be played.

With nothing to lose, Malaga decided to attack, which is usually lethal against this Real Madrid side. Joaquin sent the ball to the crossbar on the 49-minute mark, but Higuain nearly scored a fifth from the ensuing effort.

Eliseu forced Casillas to make an amazing save (55'). Real Madrid patiently waited in defence hoping to maybe score more goals from fast counterattacks; Demichelis and Rondon had chances to score goals for Malaga thanks to this relaxation.

Mourinho noticed this and replaced Kaka with Ozil, but Malaga continue to put a siege on Casillas' goal. Benzema came on for Higuain in the 70th minute and the locals lowered the pace of their game in the final 20 minutes, proving to be less dangerous. Real Madrid took control again and Callejon came on for Di Maria on the 75-minute mark.

The locals nearly saved face by scoring a strike in the 78th minute through Seba Fernandez, who sent the ball to the crossbar. Ronaldo then nearly scored again, forcing Ruben to clear his free-kick with his fists (87'). In the end, Real Madrid took three points and earned a fourth straight win in La L:iga. Up next are Villarreal at the Bernabeu.

Summary

Stadium: La Rosaleda
Attendance: 34,500
Goals: 0 - 1, min.11, Higuaín. 0 - 2, min.23, Cristiano Ronaldo. 0 - 3, min.28, Cristiano Ronaldo. 0 - 4, min.38, Cristiano Ronaldo.

10.19.2011

Real Madrid 4 - 0 O. Lyon (UCL Day 3)

Real Madrid's run in this season's Champions League is so far perfect, winning all three of their games. The Whites top Group D with a five-point cushion over Olympique Lyonnais and Ajax, and have a ticket to the Last 16 in their pocket.

Great performance by Real Madrid against Lyon

Mourinho made changes, using Benzema and Di Maria as starters. His team fiercely attacked while Olympique rarely ventured outside their box. Benzema scored the opener by finishing off a corner-kick served by Ozil that Cristiano Ronaldo had also managed to graze. Lyonnais advanced their lines and had more possession of the ball, but Casillas continued being a mere spectator. Using wide spaces left by the French, the Madridistas looked for a second strike and Ozil nearly scored from a free-kick just before half-time (40'), but the keeper cleared the ball.

The second half started with a goal. Marcelo served a long pass, a Lyonnais defender tripped, Benzema controlled the ball and assisted Khedira in the strike. The French side received an even harsher blow when Madrid scored yet again when Lloris pushed the ball into his own goal as he was nutmegged by an Ozil cross into the box (54').

One of Khedira's eyebrows was split in a struggle and Mourinho replaced him with Coentrao (60’). Kaka came on for Ozil five minutes later and the German received a standing ovation from the fans. Big as it was, it wasn't as resounding as the one received by Higuain as he came on for Benzema on the 71-minute mark. Real had more chances to score and Ramos eventually netted the final strike from a corner-kick.

Having practically secured a place in the Last 16, the Whites will now be able to be a little more relaxed as they prepare for the three league games that await them in under two weeks' time (against Malaga on Saturday, Villarreal on Wednesday, and Real Socieded the following Saturday).

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 75,000
Goals: 1-0, m.19: Benzema. 2-0, m.48: Khedira. 3-0, m.55: Özil. 4-0, m.81: Sergio Ramos.

10.17.2011

Real Madrid 4 - 1 Betis (Spanish League Day 8)

Higuain left for Argentina after scoring a hat-trick against Espanyol. He tallied another against Chile and tonight did so again against Betis. The Argentinean striker is on a roll; his back problems are clearly in the past now.

Higuain celebrates his last goal against Betis
Higuain scored a hat-trick against Betis

Pepe returned to the starting lineup today. Higuain was a starter again, flanked by Kaka, Ozil and Cristiano in attack. Betis proved not to be afraid of their hosts and put Casillas to the test in the opening 15 minutes. The keeper had to clear a dangerous shot by Ruben Castro (11'). Real gradually started to take control and chances on goal soon followed. Ronaldo narrowly missed a header following a cross from Higuain (21') and two minutes later keeper Casto managed to grab the ball when the Portuguese failed to control a pass by Alonso. Kaka shot on target from inside the box on the 43-minute mark, but the ball missed the top corner of the goal by inches.

The second half had a great start for the Whites. Marcelo served a long pass to Ronaldo, who overtook Chica and assisted Higuain in the team's first goal. Betis suffered a harsh blow and Real capitalised on it. Cristiano entered the box again and assisted Kaka, who scored from an amazing curved shot (56'). The Brazilian was substituted one minute later by Di Maria; he was congratulated by Mourinho and looked immensely happy.

Betis kept trying for a goal and Molina eventually found one in the 68th minute as he took advantage of a clearance. Real Madrid didn't shrink and kept attacking without experiencing much trouble. Di Maria eventually served a long pass to Higuain, who defeated Casto easily and tallied his second goal of the evening. The Whites' efficiency on goal forced Betis to simply give up.

Higuain was yet to score another strike from an amazing effort. Receiving a long pass again from Di Maria, the Argentine controlled the ball beautifully and netted a lobbed shot (72'). Mourinho then allowed Cristiano to rest, making him come off for Altintop. Real therefore impressively won the first of five games they are set to play in the next 15 days.

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 83,000
Goals. 1-0, m. 46: Higuain. 2-0, m. 56: Kaká. 2-1, m. 68: Jorge Molina. 3-1, m. 70: Higuain. 4-1, m. 72: Higuain.

10.06.2011

Kaka traveled to Paris to meet Leonardo

Canal + France reported yesterday that Kaka had dinner on Monday in Paris with PSG's sporting director, Leonardo. The midfielder took advantage of two days of rest that Mourinho gave to the template after the match against Espanyol and traveled to the French capital, where he was with his compatriot. Both bear a strong relationship of friendship. They met for their joint stage in Milan and even the foermer player recommended to the Rossoneri club to sign Kaka when he began to emerge in Sao Paulo.

In the management area of ​​the stadium Santiago Bernabeu, the meeting looks quite naturally. They subtract any importance. They know the relationship of affection that binds the two Brazilians and understand the event as a simple meeting between two friends. Althought Leonardo has always had an interest in being reunited with Kaka. He wanted him last season when he was coach of Inter, and this summer, with the arrival at the Parisian club, he put again his name on the table as a possible reinforcement. Backed by the money of Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, he could try to sign Kaka for the next season. That seems to be his desire.

Leonardo and Kaka in Milan

Two-match ban for Mourinho

Alfredo Florez, single judge of the Spanish Football Competition Committee, gave yesterday his verdict on events that occurred in the second leg of the SuperCup of Spain. The Mourinho's finger in the eye of Tito Vilanova has caused a two-match ban and a 600 euros fine for the coach of Real Madrid. Competition Committee has considered it a mild action so Mourinho will miss mathces on the next round of the Spanish SuperCup, never in the Spanish League nor King's Cup (Spanish Cup).

Mourinho's finger in the eye of Tito Vilanova
Mourinho's finger in the eye of Tito Vilanova

In the case of Tito Vilanova, the penalty is only one game and is fined 600 euros. Like the Portuguese, only to apply in the Spanish SuperCup. Now both clubs have the option to appeal to the Appeals Committee, but Real Madrid and Barcelona have accepted the sanction.

Do not forget that it all started when, on August 22, the single judge of Competition decided to open a extraordinary file in which Mourinho's attitude was considered serious and the acts of the Barcelona's coach assistant as mild reaction. The opening of this file was something unprecedented. For years it did not happen because the Competition Committee only evaluates facts in the file of arbitration.

Then, the dossier went to the hands of the judge, Rafael Alonso. This occurred in late August so the decision would not take place until early October because of all the bureaucratic process. It was then when the time came all key, the appeals process. Barcelona did not submit, but Real Madrid did.

The line of argument of Real Madrid, among many things, was that if was considered the Mourinho's acts as serious actions, should be the same with the aggression of David Villa to Özil. Also, Real Madrid understood that there was provocation of Barca coach and felt that there was no harmful element. That is, Tito Vilanova never had to receive medical care by the action of Mourinho.

The judge Alonso analyzed all the elements and appreciated a penalty to Mourinho of two to three games, but reduced the rating of serious, as was initially, to mild. Only this change meant that Mourinho no longer would have to serve the penalty in the League or Cup, it would always be in the same competition, the Super Cup of Spain.

Then it was reported back to the clubs so they could file new claims, a period which expired on Tuesday. After the period, Rafael Alonso issued his final proposal to the single judge of the Competition Committee, Alfredo Florez, who made ​​it official yesterday.

10.05.2011

Forbes Magazine: Real Madrid is the third most valued brand

Forbes magazine, one of the most prestigious in the U.S. founded in 1917 by financial journalist B. C. Forbes has released a report on the valuation of brands in the field of sport. Real Madrid is the third most valued brand in the world in terms of team is concerned, and Cristiano Ronaldo is the ninth most valuable athlete on the planet.

Real Madrid is the third most valued brand in the world
Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid, a perfect match

Forbes valued the Real Madrid brand in 264 million dollars (199 million euros), behind only Manchester United (203 million euros) and the New York Yankees (256 million euros). FC Barcelona is the seventh in the list and its value is 129 million. In the ranking of the top ten there are six teams in European football (Manchester, Real Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona, Arsenal and Milan).

According to the magazine explains in its report, the final value is obtained by adding the revenues that have nothing to do with the money from the Spanish League or the Champions League and the result is multiplied by four to give 264 million dollars of third place.

A few days ago the same magazine released the most valuable teams professionally. Manchester United is the first and has priced in 1,864 million dollars (1,406 million euros). In this list Real Madrid is also over Barcelona. It is assessed in fifth place and 1,451 million dollars (1,094 million euros). Barcelona is far from the top and appears on the 26th position with a valuation of 975 million dollars (735 million euros).

In the list of athletes, Cristiano Ronaldo is the ninth most valuable to Forbes magazine. Is the second football player just behind Beckham who despite being at the end of his career, preserved almost intact his value. The English player is valued around 15 million euros, while Portuguese is 7. The funny thing is that Messi, current Ballon d'Or, does not appear among the best. Tiger Woods retained the number one, while Roger Federer is the second.

10.04.2011

Nuri Sahin has already recovered from left knee injury

Nuri Sahin begins to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel. Turkish-German midfielder of 23 years has the green light from doctors, who have seen in recent days as the evolution of his grade I sprain of the internal lateral ligament in his left knee is still correct and satisfactory. He is the most important signing of five newly made ​by Real Madrid ​for this season (the club announced their engagement on May 9, including a payment to Borussia Dortmund of 10 million euros) and now he lacks only the stage of functional rehabilitation and addition to the team, which translated for all mortals means to train at the same pace that the rest of the template to complete his pre-season.

Sahin has already recovered from left knee injury
Nuri Sahin training at Valdebebas Sports City

Mourinho is taking no chances with the debut of Sahin because during the summer was the anxiety of the player and the desire to debut what caused the injury to his left knee which has avoided his official premiere in white (the only outfield player that has not played minutes). These next two weeks will be decisive to Sahin. Once the medical problem is already solved, Mourinho will add him gradually to the dynamics of the group. Something like what he did with Altintop, who played against Ajax seven minutes last week.

The injury of Sahin has forced Xabi Alonso to dispute the 900 minutes played by the Real Madrid since the start of the official season. The Portuguese coach wants Sahin to play in the position of the Spanish midfielder, not alongside him. Mourinho hopes to include Sahin this month in a call to gain confidence and remove the upset which caused him the last injury just before the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy

On June 22, FIFA issued a survey to pick young players with greater future. Sahin won the vote ahead of Alexis Sanchez, Pastore, Gareth Bale, Ganso and Hazard. Also, the German players chose the best player in Bundesliga last season and Sahin emerged victorious with 46% of the votes in that prestigious league. Sahin hopes to debut soon to account for all these awards. Has signed for six years...His debut is closer.

10.03.2011

Espanyol 0 - 4 Real Madrid (Spanish League Day 7)

Higuain is back. The Argentinean went through a rough time after his back surgery last season, but tonight he proved to be in top form with a hat-trick against Espanyol. Real Madrid earned their third victory this week with an impressive 13 goal tally.

Real Madrid defeated Espanyol with three goals of Higuain
Higuain was the start of the game

Albiol, Lass and Higian made the starting lineup covering the absences of Pepe, Carvalho and Benzema. Ramos teamed up with Albiol in the centre of defence and Arbeloa was assigned right back duties. Cristiano Ronaldo had a chance to score two minutes into the game from outside the box, but goalkeeper Cristian cleared the ball with danger for his side, sending it to one of the posts. Espanyol looked to get rid of the Whites' pressure with long passes from Thievy, and Romaric nearly scored on the 15-minute mark with an attempt from midfield. Mourinho's men responded one minute later with a Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Higuain connection finished off by the Argentine in a one-on-one against keeper Cristian.

The game opened up for Real Madrid, who used this to make fast counterattacks and capitalise on the speed of their strikers. Espanyol decided to put pressure on the Madridistas closer to midfield and had more chances on goal that were all cleared by Casillas.

The locals pressurised hard after half-time; they posed no threat close ot goal, but forced many turnovers from Mourinho's side. Nevertheless, a long pass by Arbeloa in the 66th minute was picked up and pushed into the net by Higuain, who thus practically sealed the match. Mourinho made Khedira come on for Lass (70'), as the French midfielder had been booked and the coach wanted to avoid taking risks.

Callejon replaced Ozil six minutes later and was received with an ovation by his former crowd. Espanyol kept looking for a goal, which forced them to leave open spaces that Real Madrid used in counterattacks. Ronaldo had a chance to score a third for the team on the 78-minute mark, but his shot wasn't on target.

A great and very selfless assist inside the box from the Portuguese striker allowed Callejon to score the third (82'). Granero then came on for Kaka (83') and, when the game was practically over, a defensive mistake by the locals gave the ball to Higuain and the Argentine defeated Cristian again with a skilful soft touch on the ball.

Summary

Stadium: Cornella-El Prat
Attendance: 34,423
Goals: 0-1, min.15: Higuain; 0-2, min.66: Higuain; 0-3, min.82: Callejon; 0-4, min.89: Higuain.

9.29.2011

Raphael Varane: "I have grown as football player"

Varane celebrates his first goal for Real Madrid
Raphael Varane looks happy with Real Madrid

When you received a call from Zidane just over three months to play for Madrid, did you imagine that in such a short time you were going to play Champions League matches?
I have only 18 years and I did not think I would play such important games as a starter for a team like Madrid. But it's done. After two league games, have debuted in the Champions League and I can only cross my fingers to all goes down this path. And work hard, of course.

Having played the last three games as a starter, do you feel has made progress in your play?
Absolutely. I notice it. Training with coaching staff at this level and with players of that caliber allows me to learn many things. Having so many minutes at this time has made me to improve as central defender. In three games I have grown as a player.

You have also been able to discover what is the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in La Liga and Champions. Is it a big change respect your former club Lens?
Yes, the truth is that it has nothing to do. Felix Bollaert stadium is smaller, but the fans make more noise. It's a different environment. At the Bernabeu you note a different kind of pressure that is special.

What Jose Mourinho asked you before each of these three games you have played?
The coach told me I had to be very focused, avoid any dismissal. As I am young and lack experience, Mourinho wants, above all, no mistakes of inattention. I have to be really into the game from the opening whistle until the end. The central defender position needs very forcefully and we must be ready to intervene immediately.

Take a few months in Madrid, but you look happy in the team. Many people helped you to get a good start in this locker room ...
Actually, all peers have received me very well. Everyone feels great with me. The coach and Karim (Benzema), of course, but also Lass, who left France and went to play for Chelsea when he was still very young and has advised me about this new life. In regard to the field, I have the good fortune of being surrounded by very experienced players who are very attentive to me and help me constantly.

You are a regular in the Under-21 France team. Have you thought about playing with the senior team? Can you imagine to play the European Championship in June next year?
At the moment I do not think of anything. I just concentrate on what I'm doing at Real Madrid. I have the opportunity to play games as a starter and I focus on this. If Laurent Blanc calls me, I will be super happy, but now that is not an obsession for me. My number one target is to be efficient in the field and develop my style of play. If I am called up to the French national team, will be the result from what I do at Real Madrid.

9.28.2011

Real Madrid 3 - 0 Ajax Amsterdam (UCL Day 2)

Real Madrid defeated Ajax 3-0 in their first Champions League match at the Bernabeu this season. The victory served the Whites to remain leaders in Group D. Kaka gave a stellar performance, scoring the team's second goal and assisting Benzema in the third.

Kaka and Cristiano celebrating the second goal of the team
Great performances by Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo

Ozil and Kaka made the starting lineup. Arbeloa replaced Marcelo, who was suspended for the match, and Varane took the injured Pepe's spot. Boerrigter forced Casillas to make an impressive save only 45 seconds into the game. The Whites reacted and Benzema nearly scored an opener from inside the box on the 16-minute mark, but his shot was off target. The most impressive effort of the evening came in the 24th minute: Ramos stole the ball and passed it to Ozil, who then served it to Cristiano; the Portuguese player gave it to Kaka and the Brazilian sent it back Ronaldo's way; the striker gave it to Ozil, who in turn passed it to Benzema in order to assist Cristiano inside the box in the team's first goal.

Ajax suffered from this spectacular team effort and they hardly left they're half of the pitch then onwards. De Boer's men hardly pressurised the Whites and it proved to be a fatal mistake. The locals scored their second strike on the 40-minute mark: Alonso served a long pass to Ronaldo and he passed it to Kaka, who was approaching the area line and managed to score a beauty.

Real tallied their third and final goal in the 48th minute: Arbeloa entered the box and passed the ball to Kaka, who avoided the goalkeeper's exit before leaving the ball for Benzema to send to the back of the net. Kaka's performance was truly spectacular and was replaced amidst a standing ovation by Di Maria in the 74th minute.

Benzema had to leave the pitch at the same time due to an injury and was replaced by Higuain. Ajax hardly had any chances on Casillas' goal, but the few they managed to pull off really put Casillas' reflexes to the test. The keeper was forced to prodigiously save a header by Vertonghen, proving yet again why he is considered to be the best in the world.

The final minutes of the encounter saw Hamit Altintop making his debut with the team now that he has recovered from his back injury. It was the perfect ending to a magical night at the Bernabeu.

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 75,500
Goals: 1-0, min.25 Cristiano Ronaldo; 2-0, min.40: Kaka; 3-0, min.48: Benzema.

9.25.2011

Real Madrid 6 - 2 Rayo Vallecano (Spanish League Day 6)

Real Madrid overcame adversity. Despite conceding a goal in the opening 12 seconds of their match against Rayo Vallecano, and being down to ten men from the 35-minute mark onwards, the Whites turned the score around and earned an impressive victory thanks to a great performance from Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo made a great performance against Rayo Vallecano
Cristiano Ronaldo

Expectations were high at the Bernabeu after the team failed to win its previous two away games in the league. Things didn't have an auspicious start when, only twelve seconds into the game, Tamudo shot on target from outside the box, forcing Iker Casillas to make a clearance, after which the ball landed at Michu's feet and the striker scored. It took Real a long time to get into the game after that and Mourinho decided to replace Lass with Ozil in the 28th minute. The German stepped up the team's game and helped it put pressure on Rayo by keeping possession. The Whites were constantly attacking and their first strike came from a counterattack: Kaka served the ball to Ronaldo and the Portuguese nutmegged keeper Gutierrez after a 30-minute run.

The Madridistas saw the game was wide open again and went for it. The visitors withstood their onslaughts as best they could and eventually tackled Kaka close to the box (44'). Xabi Alonso crossed the ball into the area from the free-kick, Sergio Ramos anticipated Gutierrez's exit and Higuain ended up with the ball before an empty goal. Thus, the Argentine gave the locals the lead by half-time.

The second half had a frantic start, with Real looking to seal the match. Kaka entered Rayo's area and Movilla challenged him late. Ronaldo took the ensuing penalty and scored a third for the Whites (50'). A few minutes later Rayo fought back and scored from a corner kick taken by Michu (54'). One minute later, Di Maria was sent off with a second booking.

Real Madrid pull rank in adverse situations and played their best when they were down to ten men. Mourinho reacted quickly and made Khedira and Benzema come on for Kaka and Higuain. Ozil served a corner kick on the 66-minute mark and Varane finished it off with a heel kick. Rayo kept trying to score a goal of their own, but they hardly had time to react to Madrid's latest when Benzema tallied yet another being assisted by Ozil right outside the box.

And there was more to come when Gimenez tackled Ronaldo inside the area and another penalty was awarded. Cristiano took it and scored his third goal of the evening. CR7 has already netted seven strikes this season and is on his way to earning last year's impressive numbers.

Summary

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 67,500
Goals: 0-1, min.1, Michu; 1-1, min.37, Cristiano Ronaldo; 2-1, min.45, Higuaín; 3-1, min.50, Cristiano Ronaldo (p.); 3-2, min.55, Michu; 4-2, min.67, Varane; 5-2, min.73, Benzema 6-2; min.83, Cristiano Ronaldo (p.)

9.22.2011

Mourinho: "We must return to normality by winning"

Jose Mourinho at press conference after draw against Racing

Jose Mourinho addressed the media in a press conference after the 0-0 draw with Racing. He was serious and somewhat discouraged but declined to evaluate in-depth the poor play made ​​by Real Madrid.

"We had complete control over the game, especially in the first half. We played in our opponent's half of the pitch after half-time and we didn't have that many chances on goal. This is due to Racing, who defended fiercely and played their game well looking to take one point".

"As a team we didn't do our best and some of our players performed under par, but we tried to win and ended the game the way we played it: with two defenders, with someone playing in the middle and with two forwards. Kaka was a free agent and Xabi Alonso worked very hard in midfield. We had complete control over the last 30 minutes of the match".

"We didn't have the necessary dynamics. They were always broken by the passiveness of those who can't affort the pace of the game to be altered. The pace was broken by simulation, by injuries, by the stretcher coming onto the pitch... We're responsible for this because we failed to put a stop to it".

"Our concentration was better tonight than it was on Sunday and I have a different overall feeling about the game. We dropped four points away from home last season in our first few games. Our main reference in terms of fighting for the title are Barcelona and if they win tonight they'll only have a 3-point cushion over us, not a 30-point lead".

"It's less worrysome to draw a match in which you're the only side that tries to play and win. We've dropped five points in two away games and that is worrysome. We will try to win and score goals on Saturday. We've scored one goal in our last three games and we must return to normality by scoring and winning on Saturday".

Racing 0 - 0 Real Madrid (Spanish League Day 5)

The bone injury caused by overuse is called stress fracture, but this is not the way we want to take. Here and now call stress fracture to the psychic collapse causing maximum stress situations. In the same way that the teams are passed of top phisycal conditions, the groups can be melted by excessive motivation. Real Madrid gives that impression, a team clogged by Mourinho. The Portuguese coach has sent so many times his players to the war that the players suffer the stress of the soldier, the huge collapse that produces the combination of anxiety and depression.

Teams that want to get rid of their coaches, play like Real Madrid did yesterday. I do not think there was a deliberate plan to force such a thing. I bet most players still believe in their coach, but I do not konw if blindly or the eyes begin to open. However, the subconscious is whimsical and subversive. And yesterday there was a collective subconscious reaction, almost a sit-down strike, a fact that now we can only guess. Maybe it was the response to Mourinho's purges or favoritism towards the clan (of the Portugueses). Or maybe it happens that the players have become deaf after the heavy noise around the team, the club and Mourinho.

2"Racing
Bad day for Real Madrid

It must be stressed. What is more surprising is the general collapse. A shot to the Racing Santander goal in the first half, an innocent header by Callejon. Then in the second half, slightly more heart than football. To Toño, Racing goalkeeper, sometimes suffered acrobat, was enough to dominate the air to look like Yashin. Racing, which had conceded eight goals in three games, weathered the storm with amazing ease. Against Sporting will suffer more in the next day.

Because Racing, with the respect and recognition of his heroism, is a very limited team. At this date is waiting for the miracle of Cuper, which this time will be enough with the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. It has little and yesterday was even less. Without Kennedy, Colsa, Arana and Acosta. Five debutants in the starting lineup, including a boy of 18 years, Jairo, who won several rounds against Marcelo. To draw in these circumstances is like winning the game and it would have been win the heaven if Casillas had not saved a shot by Serrano that smelled strongly to goal.

In Real Madrid, nobody. Sad officials, people working. You can only play so bad if the head is somewhere else, if problems are around, missing illusion. It also influences the lack of joy, of course. Mourinho has transformed the game in a vindictive twist: you have to win to take revenge, to close mouths and destroy hypocrisy.

It is increasingly clear that the glow of the Spanish Super Cup was scheduled to sprint without much travel. With that momentum the team won in Zaragoza and without it, team sinks against the cinderellas of the tournament. Neither Cristiano, even. A little of Varane and a lot of nothing. This has only just begun, say the optimists. But it has started bad.

Summary

Stadium: El Sardinero
Attendance: 12,000

9.21.2011

Preview: Racing vs Real Madrid (League Day 5)

Racing Santander and Real Madrid shields
Racing Santander vs Real Madrid

Mourinho, once again, devoured the hours before the match of Real Madrid. In his press conference rejected any discussion on sport and insisted on looking enemies and renewing outrage. Somebody can say it is a strategy to release pressure to the players. The problem is that the resulting pressure is no longer on him, but that falls on a club that has not enough time to fight against so many ghosts.

The contradiction is permanent. Mourinho regrets the provocations of the enemy, but invokes them. Following the example of the Levante and the proclamations of the Portuguese coach, will be difficult for the Racing resist the temptation to entangle the game today. Perhaps the fair play remains intact by the youth of many of Racing Santander players.

Real Madrid want to prove their defeat against Levante at the Ciudad de Valencia was only an accident. Until Sunday, the Whites had comfortably won their eight previous away matches in the championship. Last season Real Madrid gave an impressive performance at El Sardinero despite the absences of Higuain, Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lass. They look to do the same tonight despite missing Pepe, Coentrao, Khedira, Sahin and Altintop.

Pepe and Coentrao both suffer from fibrilar tears and will miss the match alongside Sahin and Altintop. Khedira is suspended for the match. Despite these important absences, the team will look to give an impressive performance like last season's, which coincided with the club's 109 anniversary and gave them a 3-1 win despite missing Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lass and Khedira. Jose Mourinho has taken all his men with him to Santander and also academy goalkeeper Tomas Mejias. French striker Karim Benzema hopes to net a brace against Racing at El Sardinero, just like he did last season.

Racing are currently in the relegation zone and have only taken one point in the last three league encounters, but they are still a tough team to beat, as they proved in Mestalla where they managed to lead 3-1 at one point. Coach Cuper has kept the core of last season's side and strengthened it with the signings of Tziolis, Stuani with Sevilla academy players Bernardo, Acosta and the promising Jairo. The right end of Racing B (three goals in Third Division) has chances to come into the starting lineup, led by his talent, but favored by injuries.

This is Hector Cuper's first season at Racing and his third stint as coach in Spain. The Argentine will miss the injured Arana, Colsa, Torrejon, Acosta and Kennedy, but he'll be able to count on Diop, who was suspended for last week's match. Former Real Madrid player Munitis (36 years) is a key figure on the team and will be able to face his former side becuase recently recovered from a sprained left ankle.

Real Madrid won their previous four league clashes at El Sardinero and will look to add to this impressive run tonight. Six months ago, Real Madrid won by 1-3 at the Sardinero Stadium. Highlighted the midfield formed by Xabi Alonso and Granero, the joy of Özil and rapport between Adebayor and Benzema, authors of the goals. Those were different times: Cristiano was out and Canales (former Racing player) was part of the team.

9.20.2011

Legends: Jose Martinez 'Pirri'

JOSE MARTINEZ 'PIRRI'

Jose Martinez Sanchez "Pirri"

Jose Martinez Sanchez, known by his nickname 'Pirri', was born in Ceuta in 1945 and began playing football in the teams; Imperio Riffien, Sociedad Deportiva Ceuta and Atletico Ceuta, highlighting in all these teams in which he played. While giving his first steps into the world of football was studying at the Augustinians of Ceuta.

At 18 he moved to Granada to continue his studies. There he joins the local team, the Granada CF, where he begins making a name in Spanish football. In season 1963-64, "Pirri" is called to play in the Spanish selection of fans for his great performances in Granada. He plays on the right wing as midfielder.

Real Madrid was living a time of change. The team was veteran and needed updating. Men such as Alfredo Di Stefano, are replaced by Grosso, came Mogollon and Sancho, De Felipe joined the team after have been on loan at Rayo Vallecano... Jose Martinez "Pirri", joined the Whites in 1964, and had the difficult mission to replace Ferenc Puskas.

Began that season the famous team of "Ye-ye", consisting of eleven Spanish players led by Francisco Gento. In his first year in white, "Pirri" won the first of the ten Leagues he would win in his time as a player for Real Madrid. From midfield to defense, to end up as free defender. His efforts made ​​him one of the legendary players of Real Madrid, being the sixth player in team history that more often has worn the white jersey in the Spanish League (417).

Without doubt, two events marked the sporting history of "Pirri". In 1966, Real Madrid was one of the youngest teams in Europe, and despite his inexperience, won the continental title in a very emotional final played at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, against Partizan Belgrade.

Five years later, "Pirri" lived one of the saddest chapters of his sporting life, during the final of the Cup Winners' Cup 1971, lost against Chelsea. "Pirri" was injured during the first match, which ended in a draw, and went down in history for having played the game with his arm in a sling for a broken collarbone. They had to play a match tiebreaker and the title was won by the English. The image of "Pirri" with his arm close to his body, under the white shirt is one of the images that will go down in football history. Four years later, in 1975 he played a Spanish Cup final, against FC Barcelona, with his jaw broken. Therefore he was awarded by the Real Madrid with the first 'Laureada', the most important badge of the club that was given him by then club president Don Santiago Bernabeu.

Midfielder, defender, makeshift striker. If something was characteristic in "Pirri" was his versatility. His quality and strength combined perfectly with the claw and the anger that showed on the pitch. In addition to his defensive qualities, "Pirri" was a scorer, achieving 170 goals in his sixteen seasons with the shirt of Real Madrid (561 matches).

In 1980 he moved to FC Puebla Mexico, where he played his final two seasons and finished his Medicine studies. Back in Spain, he joined the Real Madrid medical staff and then his coach team. In 2000 he was general manager of Real Madrid, leaving the position with the arrival of Jorge Valdano in September of that year.

9.19.2011

Levante 1 - 0 Real Madrid (Spanish League Day 4)

The same place and a crime even worse. The Real Madrid of Khedira and Kaka drew back in Valencia and suffered miserably in one of those slaps whose pain does not subside until the end. In a match to forget, the German midfielder was sent-off and the referee Turienzo Alvarez did not mark a clamorous penalty increasing the malaise. A commendable Levante, laborious and rogue, took advantage and Real rolled down the slope from the regular to the horrible and tactically misplaced, with Cristiano Ronaldo and without him, returning to stay behind Barcelona.

Levante defeated Real Madrid (1-0)

As in the best movies of action, style that Real Madrid cultivates, the plot and the fight were full of guilts and a single nerd: Khedira. Turienzo Alvarez did not want to mark a foul on Di Maria, he answered with a bad action on Juanlu, Iborra touched the face of the Argentine, who collapsed as killed by a shot, Ballesteros rebuked him and Khedira stepped into the role of the absurd avenging, which cost him his second yellow. It was the 40th minute. This mess killed Real Madrid on a visit full of thorns by the experience of rival on the grass in bad conditions, by the substitution of Cristiano and by the push of a crowd that swelled up to Levante like a blowfish.

Mourinho put Khedira to meet the orthodoxy of a pure midfielder alongside Xabi Alonso without any scientific proof that the Spanish midfielder plays worse alone than with company. Nor is clear that the German mix well with him. In games like this, Xabi can with words and with music, with the cut and creation, without being overwhelmed by work. That measure, plus the forced substitution Cristiano, stole to Real Madrid the energetic and crazy football that gives Coentrao in the center. With the flat style that prints Khedira (without who Madrid had won the previous three games) team was slightly but attacked a lot less. And in games like this team pays interest on late payments. It stretches the score 0-0 and then there is no time for the KO. Neither was successful the management of Kaka. Real Madrid needs him because is a very expensive asset and because Özil must be tightened, variable yield footballer with too many minutes valley, more of which are assumed even for artists. But Kaka is not now a playmaker player but, at best, a good accompaniment. He was not the guilty but neither the solution.

Just talking football, Real Madrid went for a victory from the get-go and Kaka shone having two chances on goal: the first ended in a corner kick (11') and the second was saved by keeper Munua (12'). Possession was 86% for the Whites by the 19th minute. Benzema nearly scored from a goalie clearance in the 33rd minute, but the ball went over the crossbar. Real continued to dominate until Khedira was sent off with the second booking (40') already commented.

After half-time, Mourinho replaced Benzema with Cristiano, moved Coentrao back to the centre midfielder position, and left Kaka and Di Maria in attack with Ronaldo. Real kept looking for a goal, but the match was stained by continuous theatricalities and fouls that kept bringing the game to a halt. The referee failed to award a penalty on the 63-minute mark for a handball by Iborra inside the box, that would have also been a second booking for the player and would have therefore left Levante with ten men.

The locals then used a counterattack to score the only strike of the evening: Javi Venta reached the box after a run down the right wing and assisted Kone, who defeated Casillas with a powerful shot. Higuain came on for Kaka and a few minutes later Marcelo was replaced by Ozil. Madrid gave their all looking for an equaliser and knowing their efforts in attack could very well result in another strike against them. Levante continued to defend fiercely and won the day. A step back in title race

Summary

Stadium: City of Valencia
Attendance: 17,676
Goals: 1-0 Min.67 Kone.

9.18.2011

Preview: Levante vs Real Madrid (League Day 4)

Real Madrid will face Levante at 8.00 pm (CET) today Sunday in their second away La Liga match this season. The Whites won their previous two clashes in the championship by tallying a whopping 10 goals. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are performing at an incredibly high level and will look to keep their goal scoring streak at a stadium in which the Madridistas have never lost in the league championship, having won five and drawn one of their six away meetings with Levante.

Levante VS. Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho has recovered Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka for the match. The forward had to receive three stitches on one of his ankles after the match in Zagreb, which the Brazilian missed due to a muscle strain. The facts are that Cristiano, handsome, rich and good, does not want to miss the game, despite the three stitches, and Mourinho completes the best list possible, including Kaka but without Albiol and Granero whose importance on the team falls. It smells to the usual starting line up with Coentrao as co-pilot of Xabi Alonso and at the center of the debate. Mourinho likes his compatriot because offers hyperactivity, speed and power. Others suspect that he is obliged to play by his price and that the only vacancy is there.

Ronaldo has scored four goals so far in the league and will no doubt be a key player against Levante. Benzema is also proving to be decisive by scoring goals, serving assists and actively participating in all of the team's efforts. The Frenchman netted two strikes against Getafe last week.

Levante drew their first two matches in the championship (1-1 against Getafe; 0-0 against Racing), in which they were the visiting side. They will look to earn their first home victory in the campaign against Real. Coach Juan Ignacio Martinez was signed this summer. This is his first season in the First Division, having previously coached Cartagena and many Second Division and Second Division B sides. The team strengthened its attack with the signings of Aranda, Kone and El Zhar, who will look to fill the great void left by Caicedo.

9.17.2011

Karim Benzema: More than a forward

Three goals in five official games is a figure more than respectable. They are the numbers of Karim Benzema in this early season, but Karim is much more. French is a complete striker, a player who occupies the whole front of attack and is not limited to the goal area. His capacity to associate with peers is available in very few strikers in Europe and Mourinho knows how to exploit it.

Karim Benzema in red playing for Real Madrid
Karim Benzema

Benzema is capable of playing in both wings - Alves went crazy when Karim played in the left wing in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup - and offering different resources to Real's attack. Against Dinamo Zagreb completed 22 passes correctly, only one less than Mesut Özil and same as Cristiano Ronaldo, the star of the white offensive. He did not score because he found the crossbar in the first half but was one of the best.

Few strikers can boast of not scoring at a match and be the best player of the team. Also occurred in Zaragoza, so it's no coincidence. The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium now enjoys a Benzema devoted to the cause, a tireless campaigner and the first "defender". He defends as the most and is the one to initiate defensive work to steal the ball to the opponent team. And Mourinho likes.

We do not discover anything if we say that Benzema is one of the spoiled child in the club. In the management area at the Bernabeu are reaping the benefits betting on him. They knew when they signed him that they did not sign a player for a year or two. Karim has finished exploding and the managers are delighted with his performance, because it was exactly what was expected of him. "Now he understands football as I understand it", Mourinho said. When Karim understands something, understands it beautifully.

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