Nobody imagined that on Monday March 31, 1952 would become an important date in the history of Real Madrid. That day was, like today, a usual day to play a friendly match, then framed within the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the club. It was raining (today also could) and the rival, like tonight was the Millonarios Bogota, Colombia champion (now leading).
The next day, the chronicles of the match (2-4, for visitors) highlighted the name of a blond player who was 25 years old. The newspapers of that time commented the match: "Millonarios is a team full of old players, but projects its football as a professor explains the lesson. In the team, an extraordinary player stands far above the rest: Di Stefano. He is the initiative and a machine to create problems. With extraordinary mobility comes and goes in all positions, including defensive zone".
That evening was the beginning of a love story that ended with the signing of Di Stefano in 1953 a signing that changed forever the Real Madrid history. The white team went from winning two league titles to achieve more than half of which had been played when Di Stefano retired. Sixty years later, could not find a better opponent than Millionaires to honor Di Stefano, who was already honored in 1967 against Celtic Glasgow (1-0). And for Colombians is the same honor: the "Blonde Arrow" (267 goals in 294 games) has been the best player in the club's history (1949-1953).
The legend, Di Stefano, will require the friendliness ends in the initial greetings. However, the macth barely fits into the schedule. Real Madrid played on Monday in Vallecas and the Colombians, with nine days to finish the League Postobon, played last Saturday against Santa Fe the classic of Bogota (2-1 win for Millonarios).
Under these conditions, Mourinho will use the friendly against Millonarios like a preseason match. There will be minutes for the unusual players. Kaka, who has not worn the white jersey in offical match, might get his chance. Others like Callejon, Albiol or Coentrao, who do not seem to have too much prominence, will enjoy some minutes during the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy.
Hernan Torres, the visiting coach, traveled to Spain’s capital with practically his entire team available (the only important absence will be the goalkeeper Nelson Ramos, who recently broke his Achilles tendon) and with an important challenge ahead: being, after the Mexican Pumas (2004), the second Latin American club to win the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy. Millonarios is one of the most acclaimed teams of Colombian football. In its 75-year history, it has won, among others, 13 League titles (the most, together with America from Cali) and three Cups of its country.