Real Madrid 8 - 0 Millonarios (Santiago Bernabeu Trophy)

Sixty years have passed since the latest visit of Millonarios to the Bernabeu Stadium and it may take another sixty before it returns. The interest of its comeback ran out in the name and in the memory of its first visit. Except the blue uniform, inspired by Tigre (Argentinian team) and the colors of the Conservative Party, nothing was as expected. We wanted to imagine that the scenario, the range of the honoree (Alfredo Di Stefano) and the presence of compatriots, would encourage the Colombian players to enjoy the trip and the match. But no. The match did not care them at all.

Real Madrid celebrates winning the Bernabeu Trophy 2012
Real Madrid: Bernabeu Trophy Champion 2012

So they received eight goals against and could have received fifteen. The feeling is that Millonarios felt outside the party. Not surprisingly, yesterday their B team played a league match of the Colombian competition that leads and not won for 24 years. So the players ran reluctantly. But the problem, however, is not just that. The Bernabeu Trophy has become a nuisance, isolated by the schedule of the official competitions. The only way to save it is to serve as a presentation to the new signings during the offseason, but then it will disturb the summer tours. Playing against top teams, lower ticket prices are the other possibilities that seem equally outlandish due to the Real Madrid policy. Forget it.

Just about football, with a completely different line-up from that Mourinho sent out two days earlier in Vallecas (only Özil and Khedira, who went on in the second half, participated in the win against Rayo), Real Madrid went out to defend their Trophy. They only needed the first quarter of an hour to prove it. In fifteen minutes they enjoyed five clear opportunities at goal and put themselves ahead on the scoreboard. The Whites completely bowled over their rival, who were defenceless in the face of the home team's onslaught. Kaka, who was particularly active, sent their first warning of what was to come before the first minute of play was up. The Brazilian stole the ball after Millonarios kicked off, he advanced with help from Higuaín but wasn't able to beat the goalkeeper in the one-on-one. Three minutes later he once again displayed his elegant and unstoppable stride, but his left-footed shot from inside the box went wide.

Before there were even five minutes on the clock along came the third warning, this time even closer to going in. A cross shot from Higuain got past Delgado but hit the crossbar. Morata and Callejon also joined in, enjoying attempts at goal. The former's interception of Torres in the 7th was worthy of more but his shot was met by Franco, and the latter's one-on-one after an excellent pass from Özil went to Delgado's gloves in the 12th. Such was the lead up to the match's opening goal. Higuaín overcame the player marking him with a step-over in the left wing, he entered the area, observed Kaka's arrival and sent him a left-footed pass so that the Brazilian could put their first goal on the scoreboard in the 14th.

One of this sport's maxims was fulfilled. Once the first goal was netted they just kept coming... four more before half-time. Callejon scored the second, making the most of an excellent assist from Higuain in the 23rd. The Argentinian, who was captain, had set up the first two goals of the match. A marvellous play two minutes later was worthy of a better finish. The author of the second goal, Özil, Higuain and Kaka all had a hand and Callejon shot from a volley. The visiting keeper's save was in keeping with the spectacular combination.

He wasn't able to repeat the performance with the other three goals that arrived before the end of the first half. Morata scored the third and fourth in the 32nd and 36th. For his first goal he kept a cool head, enduring the player marking him and defeating Delgado. He finished the brace with a shot across goal after a stepover from Kaka and the subsequent assist from the player chosen as Man of the Match. It was the Brazilian himself who scored the fifth in the 38th, cleverly using his back to get in before Lewis Ochoa, who tried to clear the ball from the goal line. The total came to five goals in a first half to remember.

Benzema, Modric, Fabinho and Carvalho substituted Morata, Nacho, Varane and Higuaín at half-time and the local team's fluidity of play didn't change a bit. The Whites continued to enjoy opportunities at goal and their dominance led to the sixth goal of the match, the third in Kaka's personal tally. Coentrao was knocked over by Delgado in the area and the Brazilian was responsible for taking the penalty shot in the 60th.

Eight minutes later Callejon scored his second, the seventh of the match. After a through ball from Benzema up the right wing and a cross from the French player to just outside the area, Álex cleverly saw the Real Madrid ‘21’ arrive and surprised the visitors' defence letting the ball continue past him. The academy player finished off the play, shooting into the net. It wasn't the last goal of the night. That was scored by Benzema with a shot across goal in the 79th to conclude the goal-fest and the best possible tribute to Alfredo Di Stefano.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 30,000
Goals: 1-0, m.13: Kaka. 2-0, m.23: Callejon. 3-0, m.32: Morata. 4-0, m.36: Morata. 5-0, m.37: Kaka. 6-0, m.60: Kaka (pen). 7-0, m.68: Callejon. 8-0, m.79: Benzema.


Preview: Real Madrid - Millonarios (S. Bernabeu Trophy)

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).

Casillas and Ramos hold the Bernabeu Trophy 2011

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.


Bernabeu Trophy: The relationship with Millonarios Bogota

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, September 23, 1953. Real Madrid and Nancy of France play a friendly match. An Argentine named Alfredo Di Stefano debuts in the white set. Real Madrid lost the match by 2-4 but won a figure that changed the history of the team and the Spanish football. 59 years later, Millonarios Bogota, one of the teams of the "Blonde Arrow", will play against Real Madrid the most nostalgic Bernabeu Trophy.

The Colombian squad together with other elements, was key on a dispute between Real Madrid and Barcelona, which decades ago fought to gain the services of who has been one of the most important and influential players that has played in the football world. The result of that litigation, left in memory of the white fans a team called Millonarios Bogota, an entity that does not forget, the main protagonist of this story: Alfredo Di Stefano.

Di Stefano playing for Millonarios Bogota against Real Madrid (1953)
Di Stefano playing against Real Madrid (1953)

The relationship between the two clubs began just 60 years ago, when Real Madrid celebrated its Golden Jubilee with a triangular tournament involving the Norrköping and Millonarios. The Colombian team drew 2-2 against Sweden squad and won 4-2 against Real Madrid. Di Stefano played for that team and dazzled scoring three of the six goals of the Colombian squad. The year was 1953, and, since 1949, the Real Madrid myth played for Millonarios, where he arrived after leaving River Plate by making use of the rules in a league that disobeying the rules of FIFA, decided to accept transfers without paying the players who wished. Di Stefano was one of those who took advantage of this rule and got a greater salary than he had in Argentina.

"My move to Millionaires suited me financially. I remember my stay at the club. It was very nice, formidable and we had a very good team. We enjoyed a lot and the most important, we were friends" says Di Stefano. After many disputes, FIFA managed to reach an agreement with the Colombian Club Association. The rebel players could play for the Colombian teams until October 15, 1954, when they would return to their place of origin. Therefore, Di Stefano, from that date, would be River Plate player again.

His guest appearance in Spain sparked a competition between Real Madrid and Barcelona to sign him. Barcelona, without Ladislao Kubala, who was sick (tuberculosis), needed a star to fill the gap. Then, paid four million pesetas (24,000 euros) to River Plate to hire him. Di Stefano then traveled to Barcelona, ​​but there was a FIFA communication; he could not play for Barcelona because legally belonged to Millonarios. Almost at once, Santiago Bernabéu reached an agreement with Alfonso Senior, president of the Bogota team.

With all these movements, Di Stefano did not belong to any of the four clubs and the Spanish Football Federation asked FIFA that took a Solomonic position: the footballer would play two seasons for Real Madrid and the next two for Barcelona. Di Stefano officially debuted with Real Madrid in a league match they won 4-2 against Racing Santander. In the seventh date of that tournament, Real Madrid played against Barcelona, that two days before the match renounced definitively to its rights on the Argentine player. Then the story changed.

Before his arrival in Spain, Real Madrid had won only two league titles. Barcelona, had six. After he left, in 1964, left a trail of eight new Spanish Championship trophies for the white team. In addition, the showcases at the Bernabeu were adorned with five European Cups. Certainly, Di Stefano took a turn to Real Madrid. Now, 59 years after this mess, Millonarios returns to Madrid and will be the star in a trophy that will have more history than ever. The Bernabeu stadium will receive the team from which came the player that changed the history of Real Madrid, Alfredo Di Stefano.

Di Stefano with the Millionarios Bogota shirt
Di Stefano (Millonarios Bogota)

Rayo Vallecano 0 - 2 Real Madrid (Spanish League, Day 5)

Real Madrid did not need to turn on all the machinery to win in Vallecas. Suffered less than they could expect in the land of brave. The white team did not need much light to overcome the problems that prepared the Paco Jemez's team because Real Madrid won the match on the cards, were better. Simple as that. The key to its victory was not the effort, the placement on the field nor even football, pretty lame on both sides. There was not a problem of concentration, maximum or minimum. Rayo Vallecano lost because Madrid equaled them in all the good and had better cards.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal against Rayo with his teammates
Real Madrid players celebrate the second goal against Rayo Vallecano

After a delay of a little over 22 hours with respect to the initial schedule, due to the electrical failure in the Vallecas stadium yesterday, Real Madrid faced the match against Rayo looking to recover the winning dynamic that led them to achieve the best Liga campaign in history. And they certainly met their objective. In fact, the Whites had the first opportunity at goal in the 3rd minute. Di María took the free kick and Pepe gave a header, but goalkeeper Rubén's extraordinary response prevented the Whites from opening on the scoreboard.

He wasn't able to do so ten minutes later in response to a textbook fast break that deserves to be shown in football academies. Marcelo began the play with a spectacular back heel kick, Modric continued and passed to Ronaldo who then passed to Di María. The Argentinian advanced up the left wing, entered the area and waited for the exact moment to assist Benzema, right between the legs of a midfielder. All the French player had to do was push it into the net, putting the cherry on the top of a brilliant collective play.

The goal, far from spurring on the locals, led to the visiting team's best moments in the first half. The Whites, who today gave their dark blue second kit its first official airing, enjoyed as many as four clear opportunities. Benzema and Di María, the two players who contributed most to the first goal, had the first two attempts in the 18th and 20th. Ronaldo, two minutes later, took a close shot next to Rubén from in front of the area and Modric had the clearest opportunity midway through the first half. The Croatian had the chance to score his first goal with Real Madrid but wasn't able to beat the home keeper in a one-on-one in the 25th.

This was followed by the home team's only opportunity at goal. Delibasic headed a cross from the right wing in the 33rd but Casillas' reaction was impeccable. The lesson in reflexes given by the world's best keeper left the ball loose in the area. Labaka seized the opportunity and his shot was on target. But just when it seemed that an equaliser was inevitable, Xabi Alonso was there to clear the ball from the goal line with his chest. It was the best way to warn Real Madrid that it had to make the most of its scoring opportunities if it didn't want to suffer in Vallecas.

The second half was a delight for the public. The match turned into a constant to-and-fro, a scenario in which Real Madrid is an expert, as they demonstrated last Tuesday against Manchester City. Mourinho, who made three changes to the line-up with respect to the last match (Ramos, Modric and Benzema at the expense of Varane, Khedira and Higuaín), decided to replace the Croatian with Özil in the 64th. Five minutes later the second goal came in a clear foul from Amat, who deflected Ronaldo's pass with his hands while on the ground. The Portuguese player, who has always scored against Rayo (five goals in three matches), took the penalty kick in the 69th and decided the match. He could have even scored a third three minutes later but he was thwarted by the post when he shot at open goal after a pass from Higuaín, who had come on to substitute Benzema. Real Madrid thus earned three points against a tough rival, who up until today remained undefeated and unbeaten on home ground, and in a tricky stadium that continues to bring the Whites good luck.


Stadium: Vallecas Stadium
Attendance: 9,747
Goals: 0-1: min. 12 Benzema; 0-2: min. 68 Cristiano Ronaldo (pen).


Real Madrid to face Rayo Vallecano

Real Madrid play their third match in barely nine days in Vallecas tonight (7:45 pm). The Whites face Rayo 24 hours later than expected due to the blackout yesterday at the Vallecas stadium and they do so in the hope of building on the positive team performance last Tuesday in their opening European game against Manchester City. Mourinho has made reference to this point: “I liked the way the team played last Tuesday as we found the physical and emotional motivation, and we are going to continue like that. I have a positive outlook on the game”. And his players will attempt to put the words of the Portuguese into action at a stadium in which the Whites have the best record in terms of league wins for an away team. Despite this statistic, the second derby of the season has the feel of a tough match. Rayo, who will change its usual 3-man defence for a 4-man defence, are actually unbeaten at home.

Real Madrid at Vallecas Stadium without light
Real Madrid. Yesterday at Vallecas Stadium

There is no let up in the fixture list for Real Madrid as they will play their third game in nine days tonight less than 24 hours after the scheduled fixture due to an electric failure at the Vallecas stadium yesterday. The Whites, having beaten Manchester City last Tuesday in their opening European match (3-2), face Rayo aiming to build on the positive team performance against the English outfit and pick up their second win in a row.

“The atmosphere will be hot and I am not expecting an easy match. From the declarations of the Rayo players you can understand their level of motivation, but my philosophy is that you have to play every game to the maximum if you want to win”, Mourinho recently declared. Cristiano Ronaldo will aid the effort to achieve success. The Portuguese player, who scored the definitive goal against Manchester City, always scores when he is faced by the Vallecas lineup. In fact, and after confronting the team twice he has scored on four occasions.

Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano have clashed 13 times in the League in the Vallecas stadium, and the white team have obtained nine victories , a draw and three defeats , with a balance of 25 goals in favour and 14 against. Data which mean that the Real Madrid team is the one which most often has beaten the Vallecans in their own stadium.Moreover, the squad trained by José Mourinho is the only in the First Division which has won on its last five visits, including the latest precedent from last season , decided by a goal from the heel by Cristian Ronaldo (0-1).

Rayo Vallecano receives the Real Madrid players on this fifth day after having scored a wonderful opening to the season , which brought them to sixth place in the classification. After playing two matches at home and two away , the Vallecas team scored two victories (obtained in the first two matches), a draw and a defeat. As locals they are unbeaten and unconquered. Their scoresheet is a victory against Granada (1-0) and a draw against Seville (0-0).

Before the problem with the electric light, Paco Jemez and Mourinho unveiled the starting lineups that, according to the logic, will remain for today. And the Portuguese coach dispelled doubts. Sergio Ramos appeared in the starting lineup, giving closed the controversy created by the substitution of the player against Manchester City.

Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Xabi Alonso, Essien, Di Maria, Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema.
Rayo Vallecano: Ruben, Tito, Labaka, Amat, Casado, Javi Fuego, Jose Carlos, Lass, Chori Dominguez, Delibasic, Leo Baptistao.

Sabotage in Vallecas

The Rayo Vallecano-Real Madrid match that had to be played yesterday, went down in history for electricity sabotage that left a side of the Vallecas stadium dark what forced the referee to stop the match, to be played today (7:45 pm CET).

Vallecas Stadium with spotlights out of order
Vallecas Stadium with spotlights out of order

The problem was detected around 8:30 pm. The spotlights of the one side of the stadium did not come on and the club began to work quickly with the operators thinking it was an electrical fault by the severe storm of rain falling on Madrid. However, it was soon discovered that 25 electric panels, which controlled the 50 spotlights on the side had suffered damage.

Rayo Vallecano president, Raul Martin Presa, then talked to the media at a press conference: "It was a sabotage, some vandals have cut the wires and they could only do it climbing because the spotlights are on the cover. It's a very difficult access. It was an attack on our stadium". The club revealed through his twitter account a photo of one of the electric panel damaged and suspects that the action was well planned because the authors knew what they were doing because there was danger of electrocution. There also were power supplies in other areas of the stadium that were damaged.

The start of the match was gradually delayed and even several authoritative voices of Rayo Vallecano were optimistic but at 10:15 pm, 45 minutes after the scheduled start, the technicians had not yet managed to repair the damage and the referee determined that there was not enough light to play. Although players from both teams wanted to play, was imposed the referee's criteria.

The presence in the stadium of the government delegate, accelerated the arrival of the judicial police and various technicians. The delegate (responsible of the police actions in Madrid) declined to speak to reporters but last night police began a thorough investigation and began taking fingerprints to try to learn the identity of the perpetrators.

Real Madrid has explained this morning its position on the suspension of the game against Rayo Vallecano, through an official statement: "After the deplorable events that took place yesterday, Sunday, and led to the suspension of the Rayo Vallecano-Real Madrid match, Real Madrid C.F. asked the Professional Football League (LFP) to schedule the game today, Monday, during the day in order to avoid any potential problems that might again put it at risk. The president of the LFP has decided, however, that the match will be played at 7:45 pm and has accepted personal responsibility for it to take place without incident. Real Madrid C.F. bases their request on their concern for the lack of dates for the rescheduling of the match should it not be possible for the match to go ahead today".


Preview: Rayo Vallecano - Real Madrid (League, Day 5)

Real Madrid returns to the reality of the Spanish league after the pomp of the Champions League, the shining spotlights of the heroic comeback against Manchester City, and aftertaste of sweet fellowship that was between the team and the Bernabeu fans with Cristiano Ronaldo's goal in minute 90'. And the reality is that white team has four points in four league games, and needs to start scoring points, three at every game.

Cristiano Ronaldo against Rayo Vallecano
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating his goal at Vallecas 

And in this frame of mind, the truth is that a match against Rayo Vallecano in Vallecas is not the best scenario to lift head. Because Rayo is not the team with more quality of the championship, but its footballers play with heart, and the closeness of the stands in the stadium consumes oxygen of the rivals. The Real Madrid took the three points last season by the grace of a heel by Cristiano Ronaldo, who still not really knows how it happened with five local defenses in front, and certainly the Portuguese is not expected to have a placid Sunday against Paco Jemez's team.

Also, Real Madrid also comes to the match in a situation, far from comfortable. Quite the contrary. Tuesday's 3-2 win against Manchester City served to dampen many discussions, but they are dormant in the environment, and at any time may be reproduced on Sunday. One discussion is about the tactical disposition of Jose Mourinho, who on Tuesday wanted to bolster his midfield with a three-players defensive line that seems unlikely to use again.

Another is the substitution of Sergio Ramos. Given the quality of the Spanish player, there would not be many reasons to relegate the player to the bench, but causes still are not quite unclear, so his presence in the starting lineup is a mystery. As are the reasons why Iker Casillas did not celebrate the Cristiano Ronaldo's goal against Manchester City.

Cristiano Ronaldo who still will be followed by the eyes of all the Real Madrid supporters after ensuring that he was "sad". He played hard against Sevilla and Manchester City, and even found the goal, but still does not perform at his best, and without diminishing his defiance: "I never regret what I say" commented the Tuesday night.

So, with the rope on the neck, there are many fronts in the Real Madrid which can be resolved in Vallecas this Sunday. In principle, Jose Mourinho has all his players to seek victory except for Fabio Coentrao, punished. The coach has had five days to train for the match, and there are no any official matches until the following Sunday, an oxygen tank to find the win against Rayo Vallecano, that promises much war, has started very well this season with three points over Real Madrid, and comes with all available men and prepared for battle.

Expected Starting Lineups

Rayo Vallecano: Ruben, Tito, Amat, Casado, Galvez, Javi Fuego, Trashorras, Piti, Leo Baptistao, Jose Carlos, Bille.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Xabi Alonso, Khedira, Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain, Özil.
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