Mourinho: "Benzema and Higuain aren't going to be together"

Real Madrid faces Barcelona at the Camp Nou (Sunday, 7:50 pm CET), for the match corresponding to the seventh match day of the Spanish League. The team has had five consecutive victories and Mourinho spoke about the match after the last training session before it: "For me it's a match more fitted to the evolution we hope for and which we hope to make constant. I'm not talking about results, but about organization, discipline, tactics, ambition, commitment, team play, good personalities... That is my concern. We're at the beginning and the concern is getting to the level we got to last season. We all knew it was difficult to maintain it for so many consecutive months. We have lost that level and we want to get it back bit by bit, which is what we are doing. This match is important in this regard and if we can come out with the conviction with which we have made this evolution constant, well that's even better".

Mourinho at the press conference before Barcelona match
Jose Mourinho

The Real Madrid coach spoke about those who will be dropped from Barcelona's defence: "At Barcelona we have played without Pepe and the world hasn't come to an end. Last season, during Barcelona's La Liga match, Pique was well and stayed on the bench. I can't be in the head of other coaches. Normally, I will only find out about our opponent's line up one hour beforehand and I have to give my team's before. I can't decide upon my team on the basis of the other one as I don't know who is going to play. We have our idea and our team ready to play. In matches like this one, as I metaphorically say, they are matches which bring the world to a standstill, where everybody plays. In the case of Puyol, I am happy that it's not as serious as it seemed. In the case of Pique, if there is doubt it's very minimal, so if he's not fully recovered, he will be on the final leg of his recovery".

When asked about Real Madrid's starting eleven at the Camp Nou, Mourinho was clear: "Benzema and Higuain are not going to be together. After having played so many times against Barcelona recently, I think it will be difficult for you to know the make-up of the team. I won't tell you who is going to play. I decided to go with Marcelo in the match against Ajax and I think it was a good decision because it meant a very good match. But each match is different and you will soon see who is going to play".


Real Madrid to face Barcelona in perfect shape

Real Madrid has reached its cruising speed at the right time: just on the eve of facing Barcelona, a Classic that can modify their travels trought the Spanish League. The great wins against Deportivo (5-1) and Ajax (1-4) killed the doubts with which the Mourinho's team started the season, while talking to us about the perfect set-up of their most crucial players, Cristiano and Benzema, with Kaka growing up every match.

Kaka, Cristiano and Benzema clebrate a goal against Ajax, wearing the Real Madrid green jersey
Real Madrid has reached a good play level in the last matches

In addition to the technical and physical factors, the white squad will have renewed strength with its inner stability, once Sergio Ramos apologized before his coach and teammates. The team was united at the Amsterdam Arena and worked in harmony to build a resounding victory in the Champions League.

Mourinho retakes firmly the helm, so Real Madrid faces the match at the Camp Nou without dissents or sad players. Cristiano Ronaldo, star of the first problem that shocked Real Madrid, is scoring goals again, smiles and shares his joy with the team, a team that has confidence on him. The Portuguese player has been crucial in recent clashes against Barcelona, in which he has showed a clear motivation. This Sunday will be no different attitude.

The Real Madrid watched against Deportivo, and three days later in Amsterdam, let the feeling of being able to win against Barca, now leader with an eight points gap on the Spanish league table. The Mourinho's team has scored 9 goals in the last two matches, so looks again like the machine that finished the last Spanish league with 121 goals (3.1 per game).

In the last two clashes (Deportivo and Ajax) Real Madrid has scored just one goal less than in the previous six (7 in the Spanish league and 3 facing Manchester City). And considering the level of success in the two recent league games (2 against Rayo and 5 against Depor) the average is 3.5 goals a match, similar to the previous year's total. From the comeback against Man. City (3-2), matches are victories, supported by seven goals from Cristiano and with the two goals of Benzema. The Portuguese and the French also scored in the epic night against City, confirming that began their meteoric scoring climb in communion with a fabulous show of power by all the Real Madrid team.

Barca have reasons for concern about the visit of Real Madrid. The poor image of the Mourinho's squad against Valencia (1-1), with Getafe (2-1) and against Sevilla (1-0) is part of a bad memory of a dark phase in which the team lacked solidarity in the fight, defensive consistency, speed and success. Now, white team has increased its shots on target and plays with as much speed as safe. Barcelona will face a different Real Madrid, a team that enjoys excellent health, eager to close the gap in the table.

Kaka is rehabilitated after the match in Amsterdam

Florentino Perez said to the members assembly that "Kaka is a club asset value" and the price of Brazilian player has skyrocketed in four days. The player claimed on September 1: "I do not want to burden the club and if I did not leave it was because I had no offers". Now, after his big game against Ajax, Brazilian contemplates his future in another way: "I am at the disposal of the coach for the Classic. It's an important match because it is one of our rivals for the title".

Kaka wearing the Real Madrid jersey against Ajax
Kaka played a great match agaisnt Ajax

Kaka, who has never played with Mourinho over six consecutive matches as a starter, has been rehabilitated. He sees again himself like a footballer after his exhibition at the Amsterdam Arena; three shots on target, one assist, some dribbles and the feeling for the fans that the Brazilain playmaker is not lost for the cause. His media adviser, Diego Kotscho, and the responsible for promoting him via Twitter, said: "Kaka did very well. He deserves play the Classic against Barcelona".

The Brazilian has played three straight matches at high level: Ajax (74 minutes), Deportivo (45) and Millonarios (61). We saw his first minutes in official match last Sunday against Deportivo in the sixth matchday of Spanish League. He replaced Özil and shot once on goal, gave 15 good passes, a recovery and participated in 17 plays. But in reality, the source of his comeback was on September 26 against Millonarios of Bogota. That day Kaka achieved a hat-trick to force Mourinho to think of him again, despite having signed Modric for 40 million euros and with Özil ahead of him so far. Kaka is not the player who refused to pose with the trophy of the Spanish Super Cup. His rehabilitation is on track.

But Kaka has had more resurrections as a Real Madrid player. If you look at his numbers at Real Madrid, has played for Real Madrid the 37% of the possible minutes (5,768 out of 15,600). Also the injuries have hampered his career at the club. The Brazilian has had other 'opportunities'. Without going any further, last season. In October, as now, played six games in a row as a starter until he suffered an injury in Anoeta Stadium (against Real Sociedad). And in late January played several good games against Zaragoza, Athletic Bilabo and Barcelona (alongside with Özil).


Cristiano Ronaldo: 15 hat-tricks playing for Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo was once again the star of the match against Ajax. The Portuguese repeated his performance on Sunday against Deportivo and again scored three goals. After the match, his delight to the media and dismissed importance of his hat-trick: "We played a good match in all aspects and we are happy. It is very important for me to score goals, but the most important thing is the team".

Cristiano Ronaldo kisses a ball wiearing the Real Madrid green jersey
Cristiano Ronaldo kisses the ball after scoring a hat-trick against Ajax

But the numbers of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid are chilling. With the hat-trick against Ajax last night, the Portuguese forward has achieved 15 playing for the white club. Thirteen of them were scored in the Spanish League since arriving at the Bernabeu in 2009, one in Cup and the last in Champions League. Of these, seven achieved away from the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where the difficulty increases. In addition, CR7 scored four goals twice; in a home match against Racing Santander (6-1) and at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium against Sevilla (2-6).

Ajax 1 - 4 Real Madrid (Champions League, Day 2)

Players of Ajax seem better guys than footballers. There are surprising ripenings (Sofia Vergara and others), but the feeling is that from the Dutch team will not come out a shining star. They handle the conventional, but unknown the extraordinary. It is a shame there is no fertilizer to grow the talent, nor Cruyff's plant cuttings.

Real Madrid, however, and preferably in Amsterdam, is like a Transformer, prodigious combination of wit and steel. Normally it is intractable. In defense, Pepe recovers the ball three consecutive times and following is won with a boo!, such fear he generates among opposing forwards. On offense, no levees to the ocean, even in the Netherlands. With such a scenario, the triumph is resisting more minutes than the last victim, or the last time. Ajax resisted 41, remarkably high. In addition, they scored their first goal in the last five clashes against Real Madrid. And even they changed shirts with the rival. Not easy to find teachers so nice.

If Real Madrid took longer than usual to open the scoreboard was because yesterday as the tide, grew until it devoured the beach. Because there were some changes at the starting line-up. Essien, for example, gave a great performance, in keeping with his reputation, but unsuspected by the way he came. If he does not suffer injuries, Essien will play as much as Khedira and do not discard they finish playing together. The German now is a tank with cannon.

Real Madrid players wearing the green jersey celebrate a goal against Ajax
Ajax 1 - 4 Real Madrid (Champions League 2012, Day 2)

Essien, Kaka, Callejon, who scored a brace here last season, and Benzema were the changes in the starting line-up. Real Madrid didn’t need much time to show that this stadium is still a favourite place to visit. Exactly four minutes. That is how long it took to shake off the home team’s and home crowd’s initial pressure and start having clear chances. Three inside the first 15 minutes. All of them were stopped by an outstanding Vermeer, who put on a lesson in reflex saves in Dortmund on the opening day.

Cristiano Ronaldo had the first in the 13th minute in a piece of play started by Callejón after he stole the ball in midfield. The academy player passed to Kaká who played the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo who could not beat the home team goalkeeper in a one-on-one. The next, a double opportunity, came a minute later. An excellent solo run from Cristiano Ronaldo on the left wing who cut inside into the area and passed the ball to Kaká. The Brazilian's shot was blocked by Vermeer, who did the same for the Whites’ second attempt from the rebound, this time by Benzema.

The visiting team’s dominance was overwhelming, although the match was interrupted twice because of a flat ball. Ajax were limited to hoping and it seemed that Real Madrid’s goal was only a matter of time in coming. It came three minutes before the break but it could have come in any one of the multiple chances that preceded it. In fact, Real Madrid had three clear chances in just three minutes. The first two were crafted by Cristiano Ronaldo who would later get his deserved award of a goal. The first saw his header arrive in Vermeer's hands in the 36th minute and the second a left-footed volley that went narrowly just inches over the home team’s bar. The third chance went to Marcelo in the 38th minute but his shot from the edge of the area was saved by the Ajax goalkeeper.

We said that the goal came before the break and did so following another interception in midfield, which led to Benzema going into the area, shaking off a home defender with a great dummy and then put in the cross. Cristiano Ronaldo took advantage of it in the 42nd to score for the fourth consecutive match. The situation was perfect. Casillas was virtually unseen and Real Madrid scored at a great time to score psychologically and went to the changing room with the advantage.

The second half could not have started better way for the visitors and also for the delight all football lovers. In fact, the Amsterdam Arena witnessed possibly the best goal so far in this year's Champions League. A Kaka cross from the right in the 48th and Benzema, who had overrun the ball, shot with a bicycle kick that surprised Vermeer because of its fluidity and placement. That goal did a lot of damage to Ajax as it looked like everything that the coach had prepared at halftime had to be thrown out of the window. Real Madrid were in complete control but football is unpredictable and an isolated play gave the Dutch team hope. A corner from the left and Moisander, at the far post, put the ball into the net with a header in the 56th minute. 2-1 and although it was a moment of happiness there was more suffering to come.

Mourinho invigorated the team and brought on Di Maria for Callejon in the 61st minute. The Argentine could have restored the 2 goal margin, but his shot from the edge of the area was saved by Vermeer. The chances came one after another and Hoesen, who replaced Sana, had the opportunity to equalise in the 68th minute. His shot from the goal line went over to the disbelief of the home crowd. It was the last of Ajax’s opportunities to score. Özil and Khedira coming on for Kaka and Essien energised the visitor’s midfield the team have them to thank for the further goals. Cristiano Ronaldo was the scorer of both within just three minutes. In the first finished a great piece of interplay with Benzema and a shot tight inside the post from in front of the goal in the 79th minute and the second beat Vermeer with elegant chip in the 81st (second consecutive hat-trick from the Portuguese, who is the top scorer in this season’s Champions League). The best way to finish the match and record the fifth consecutive victory before the Classic.


Stadium: Amsterdam Arena
Attendance: 52,000
Goals: 0-1, m.42: Cristiano Ronaldo. 0-2, m.48: Benzema. 1-2, m.56: Moisander. 1-3, m.79: Cristiano Ronaldo. 1-4, m.81: Cristiano Ronaldo.


Mourinho: "My relationship with my wife is better than my relationship with Sergio Ramos"

José Mourinho appeared in the press room at the Amsterdam Arena the day before the match against Ajax. The Portuguese coach spoke about his team’s first match away from home in the Champions League: "I studied Ajax as usual and they are a better team than last year. I have not stayed at home as many would, I came to see them live and to do my job better. We have worked on some things yesterday and today, and everything is normal. Nobody distracts me from my aim, which is to win or try to win the match tomorrow. It is a match like any other and what happens away from that or what is written doesn’t distract me and nor do I think it does the players either".

Mourinho attends the press conference

Mourinho spoke about Frank de Boer and the Whites’ next opponent: "I want to thank Frank, he has said positive things about me. We worked together for two years. We have continued, without having much contact, being friends and respecting one another. He is a young coach, he works very well and is growing in the same way that his team is and I am sure that they will be even stronger than in previous seasons. I think they are more accustomed to the Champions League and are a more tactical team than in other years and they are good on the counter and have a good team".

When asked about his trip to Amsterdam to study the next opponent he was clear: "It's my job to have seen them live, as was going to see Manchester City. I could have seen it on television, but I took a plane and I was here. I'm happy to be here. There are some of the same players from last season and they have the same philosophy. In my opinion they have a team that is well-prepared for the Champions League, better than last year. I do not know if they are a weaker team, I think the players are gaining more years’ Champions League experience. For many, tomorrow will be the fifth time that they have played against us and for them it will be a normal thing. So I do not think they are weaker".

Following Real Madrid’s recent wins, Mourinho is confident that the team will get another victory in Amsterdam: "The whole team is pulling in the same direction. We have won three straight matches. Against Manchester City we made a special comeback, against Rayo we had a difficult game that the team was able to win and against Deportivo we went 1-0 behind and only a team that wants to win can comeback like that. It's a bit of a strange question, because I could ask you if all of you in your job are pulling in the same direction, as opposed to some in one direction and other in the other".

"I have a Champions League match tomorrow and that is motivation enough. If you ask my players then you will find that there are none that will not say that they really want to start tomorrow. Only 11 can do, I have 24 here, and 13 will be left with a bitter taste in their mouths because the Champions League is a motivation for everyone. I will use the players who can give me the most guarantees tomorrow. I have one with an injury and I do not know if he will be unable to play tomorrow. That is Khedira. Others are ready, some played two days ago and others didn’t and are fresher like Arbeloa, who will play" he said when asked about the possible starting eleven.

About the importance of every Champions League match he said: "Each point is crucial, every loss pushes you towards a dangerous situation. We want to move forward and to continue what we did in the Champions League last year. It was normal to get knocked out early and lose matches three or four years ago. In recent years it has become normal win and to qualify for the next stage and to go a long way and that is what we want to do tomorrow. Our aim is to leave here with more points than we have now. One point will be OK for us but we will try to go home with three".

About Sergio Ramos and what he said on social networks regarding his gesture in wearing an Özil shirt underneath his own in the match against Deportivo he said: "He is a great professional. I have no problems with him. We have no problem, what he says is true". On his relationship with man from Seville he joked: "My relationship with my wife is better than my relationship with Sergio Ramos, but my relationship with him is better than it is with people who I do not work with and who I do not share my day with everyday. The same goes for my relationship with Arbeloa and with the rest. About what he said, you’ll have to ask him".

When asked why Özil has played fewer minutes this season than last season Mourinho said: "Less playing time or less quality playing time? Because, the better the quality, the more playing time". And about Modric and whether he was missing something or at his best he said: "We need more time training, more matches and more confidence. He needs to get to know his teammates better and his coach's ideas. He lacks many things".


Preview: Ajax vs Real Madrid (Champions League, Day 2)

Through the respect inspired by Ajax you could determine the age of a fan of Real Madrid. While those over age 40 will adjust the tie to talk about tonight's opponent, those under 20 will show the same consideration that to Dinamo Zagreb and APOEL Nicosia. It is not uncommon. It is almost two decades that Ajax disappeared from the European elite (won the 1995 Champions League and lost the final the following year) and have already spent 40 years of his glorious continental stage (1971, 72 and 73). Since then, poverty in Europe and home comfort: Ajax successfully achieved the title of the Dutch league championship, the 31st.

Because Ajax is a permanent reconstruction team. Proof of this is that last summer fourteen players left the team (and three retired) and Ajax signed eight players. Fifteen of the players who make up the squad are 20 years old or less and only one exceeded thirty, the Danish Poulsen. After the last transfers, there are almost no players of the Dutch national team that got the second place in the last World Cup 2010. Ryan Babel (25) is the only player on the team who was in South Africa.

Surprisingly, an adversary apparently as tender as this Ajax resisted the fearsome attack by Dortmund until the 87th minute (1-0). But as they did, we must conclude that the team of Frank de Boer has more than just youth and inexperience. Indeed, the smaller of the De Boer twins (for minutes) debuted at Ajax when he was 18, a figure that shows the old custom of the team: throwing the boys without parachute when they come of age.

Mourinho spoke of that match in the Netherlands to argue that today will be more difficult than in the past two years. It does not seem complicated: four placid victories to Whites; (0-3, 3-0, 0-4 and 2-0). These four straight wins did forget the classic rivalry of the past, the Real Madrid defeats in 1973 and 1995, and the hard victory in 1963.

About the today's starting line-up, the Portuguese coach gave few clues (Mourinho called up the 24 players in the squad). Arbeloa will come back to the right-back, his public appearance confirms it, and Khedira is the doubt, due to physical problems. Although the coach said it is the most important match, with few days to the Classic against Barcelona, it seems logical that the German leaves his place to Essien.

Ahead would not be surprising to see Callejon, who last year scored two goals in the Amsterdam Arena. So Di Maria will rest because he finished exhausted against Deportivo and will be a basic player against Barcelona. Neither rule out the presence of Özil, you know, carrot and stick policy. Among the forwards, Benzema has advantage.

As you can imagine, the Ramos case occupied much of the press conference. Mourinho denied the problems halfheartedly and nobody thinks about Ramos out of the line-up. Another possibility would rekindle the fire dangerously.

It will be the fifth away match of the season for Real Madrid, which has lost three of them (Barcelona, Getafe and Sevilla). Today white team should not have many problems. But this is football and at Real Madrid lately is little talk of the sport.

Expected Starting Line-up
  • Ajax: Vermeer, Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind, De Jong, Poulsen, Eriksen, Sana, Babel, Boerrigter
  • Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Essien, Alonso, Callejon, Özil, Ronaldo, Benzema.


Sergio Ramos keeps his fight with Mourinho

After the win against Deportivo, Sergio Ramos talked to the media: "I die with my ideas and my principles, and if there is something I do not like, why do I have to keep quiet? I do not have so much experience as the coach but nobody can doubt my work and loyalty to the club".

Mourinho talks to Ramos
Sergio Ramos and Jose Mourinho

The message was clearly aimed at Mourinho, who had spoken the day before about the player: "When Ramos is focused on football gives me everything that can provide a defender; security, quality to play the ball, force in free-kick plays and leadership. He is one of the best when he has the necessary commitment".

Hours later, Sergio Ramos went back to the right-back position, a place where he did not play since April 5, against APOEL in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. The discomfort of Arbeloa (though was on the bench) and physical problems of Essien, set Ramos in a position where for years he did not feel at ease. The reason is simple: when Ramos plays at the right-back is required to attack and is criticized for not defending. And a hundred meters leading to much criticism.

But that last location should not be included in lawsuits between player and coach. In fact, it was Mourinho who has recovered Sergio Ramos to the center of the defense, place he occupied when he moved to Madrid in 2005. Last season, following a Carvalho's injury, the coach placed Ramos as center-back. It was the seventh matchday of the season. Thereafter, the performance of the player increased: he was the best player of the team against Villarreal, at the Mestalla stadium, against Granada, in Getafe, against Sevilla and Bilbao. Del Bosque paid attention to this move and Sergio Ramos had a new role in the Spanish national team. He played as right-back at Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, but played as center defender the last European Championship 2012 and was called up in the best team of the tournament.

However, the season of the return to origins also brought the first problems with Mourinho. After losing at home of Levante in the fourth day of the league, Ramos disappeared from the starting line-up of the next game. The sin of the defender was to contradict the version of the coach, who charged against the referee and the assistants. "We have not to mention the referee and there are no excuses", said Ramos.

In January, the Spanish media released the confrontation between Mourinho and several Spanish players in the squad. Real Madrid had lost against Barcelona at the Bernabeu (1-2) in the quarterfinals of the Spanish Cup. The following day, in Valdebebas, Mourinho criticized his players by their statements: "Oh yeah, as you have been World champions your friends of the press protect you... like the goalkeeper". Also chided Ramos: "Where were you on the first goal, Sergio?". "I was with Piqué" replied the player. "Well, you had to follow Puyol". "Yes, but they were doing screens with Piqué and we changed the marks". "What, now are you coaching?" Mourinho asked him. The player did not hold back: "As you have never played football you do not known about these situations".

The next episode, more recently, came after the defeat in Seville. Mourinho said after the conclusion of the match that he had no team and wished to have the opportunity to make seven changes. Ramos returned to have his own ideas: "I always say that here we are all guilty, from first to last. When we win, we all do it and when we lose, the same".

Ramos was out of the Real Madrid starting line-up for the European debut against Manchester City "for technical reasons". Özil was the other sacrificed. Sergio appeared again at the starting line-up against Rayo. Finished the game and asked about the substitution against City, said: "The things of the family, stay inside. What runs through my veins is Real Madrid and what is happening, is for me". And so things continue, according to recent statements by Ramos. It seems that Mourinho has faced a character as proud as his. Curious match: the best coach in the world against one of the best center defenders.

Cristiano Ronaldo continues in the fight for the Golden Ball

Cristiano Ronaldo is back to his best scoring version just in the week of the Classic. The Portuguese did not look the same after finishing the last league (46 goals in 38 games) and after showing a great level at the Euro 2012. He had scored only 3 goals in 5 league matches and saw himself walk away from the fight for the Spanish Top Scorer (Pichichi) and the Golden Boot (Messi had scored 6 goals and Falcao 7). But against Deportivo made ​​a hat-trick and reached the second place at the top scorer table, equaling Messi, who has two games without scoring, and a goal from Atletico's player, who last weekend did not score either.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates a hat-trick against Deportivo
Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring against Deportivo

In total, he has collected nine goals in nine matches and has reached the same numbers as last season. This Cristiano's growth comes to Real Madrid with one week to go to the Camp Nou in order to close the gap with Barcelona to five points. And Cristiano Ronaldo has already scored 8 goals against Barcelona in 15 games. No doubt that is one of his favorite victims.

In addition, the Portuguese player has commented to his familiar people that he wants to face Barcelona, flip the situation in the league and win a new assault in the battle with Messi for the Ballon d'Or. He thinks he can still win this award. "It is to be decided" he confessed. Last season, the Real Madrid player turned the scale in his favor. Messi scored more goals than Cristiano (82 by 69, adding the goals with his national teams), but Real Madrid won the Spanish League and Cristiano scored a goal in the Nou Camp which gave them the victory and sealed the title. The former Barcelona player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, talked to Eurosport TV, and commented about this struggle: "On a personal level, Messi had a great season, but did not win much with his team. It is time to see another player winning the trophy".

Cristiano Ronaldo, in just over three years, has become one of the best players in the history of Real Madrid. On Sunday, came into the top ten scorers the white team, equaling the legendary Amancio, although 'El Brujo' played 14 seasons in the Bernabeu Stadium. The Portuguese, in just over three years, has 155 goals in 153 matches (in Manchester got ​​118 in 292 official meetings) and with the best average in history (1.01 goals per match), ahead of legends like Puskas (0.93), Di Stefano (0.77) and Pahiño (0.86).


Real Madrid 5 - 1 Dep. La Coruña (Spanish League, Day 6)

Real Madrid have a squad so varied and of such quality, that the order of the factors does not alter the product. Even a starting line-up out from a lottery drum would be convenient and winner. And do not understand this as a slight to the coaching staff, it's almost a compliment: it was they who chose the players. Its tasks also is exploring new avenues and yesterday, with drum or method, opened roads that did not decrease the scoring or general happiness, rather the opposite.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates a goal against Deportivo
Real Madrid defeated Deportivo (5-1)

By knowing the lineup, the changes made by Mourinho seemed somewhat extravagant. Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso stayed on the bench and their places were filled by Sergio Ramos and Modric. The Spanish defender returned as right back and the Croatian took the helm after several matches as playmaker. As all's well what ends well, Mourinho can say that the experiment worked. Sergio Ramos had a great performance and Modric resolved the doubts with an assistance, with exquisite care, that led to the goal from Di Maria, the second of the team.

Mourinho decided to put Modric in charge of the game accompanied by Khedira and Özil in a previously unused Real Madrid midfield combination. The Whites’ coach’s bet was totally justified, based on the result and the way that the Whites played. Nevertheless and although the Whites had the first chances of the match it was Deportivo who struck first. An undeserved reward for the visitors who pushed forward for their first and only chance. Exceptional individual play from Riki from the Real Madrid academy who beat Casillas in a one-on-one with a subtle chip in the 16th minute.

The home team’s local reaction was swift. In fact, the Whites only needed 22 minutes to turn around the score board. Mourinho changed the positions of Cristiano Ronaldo and Di María and both were involved in the first three Real Madrid goals. The Argentine had a chance for the first on 18 minutes in a one-on-one but it went over. Five minutes later he played a key role in the play that brought about the equaliser. “El Fideo” Di María came up against Manuel Pablo and went past him at speed and when he got into the area he was clearly tripped by the Galician’s defender. Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored in his third consecutive official match, scored the penalty in the 23rd minute. 1-1 and all to be played for.

Ten minutes later the Portuguese had another opportunity to score following a great pass from Khedira, but Aranzubia displayed his great reflexes and stopped the Portuguese’s powerful shot. Real Madrid kept trying and their commitment was rewarded in the 38th minute. An impressive Modric pass with the outside of his right foot left Di María in front of the goalkeeper. The Argentine’s shot hit the post but he was first to react to the rebound and scored the second with a header from the goal line. The Whites were not satisfied with that lead and before half-time scored a third, Cristiano Ronaldo’s second. The Portuguese took advantage of an Aranzubia deflection following a shot from Ramos and got in front of the whole of the visitors’ defence and put the ball in the net with his head in the 44th minute. Real Madrid took an unassailable lead in the match and were enjoying themselves on the field as were their fans with the three goals in 45 minutes.

Mourinho rewarded Kaká for his spectacular hat-trick in the Santiago Bernabéu Trophy and him on in place of Özil after the break. If in the first half, Deportivo only had one chance, in the second the Galicians were nowhere to be seen. It was 45 minutes dominance by the home team that showed that the team is still hungry for success. Xabi Alonso, who replaced Modric who was applauded as he left the field, and Benzema, who came on for Higuaín joined Real Madrid party. The Spanish international had the chance to score from outside of the box in his team’s first attempt with him on the pitch. The fluidity and elegance of the play deserved a better finish. Marcelo, Di María, Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo were involved and following two back-heel passes the ball got the man from Tolosa who found Aranzubia with his shot in the 58th minute.

It was the build-up to their fourth goal of the night. A free-kick taken by Xabi Alonso and then a Pepe header who got in front of the defence ended with the ball in the back of the net in the 66th minute. The first goal this season for the Portuguese international and the sixth player from his team to score. There was still time for the fifth and last, which was to complete the total for the most goals scored in a competitive match this season. Kaká, very active during the time that he was involved kept making a good impression and provoked a penalty following a hand ball from Evaldo in the 84th minute. Ronaldo converted it and scored his first hat-trick this season and closed out a match in which his team once again proved they are on a clear upward trend. The fourth consecutive victory was testament to that.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 75,000
Goals: 0-1, m. 16: Riki. 1-1, m.23: Cristiano Ronaldo (pen). 2-1, m.38: Di María. 3-1, m.44: Cristiano Ronaldo. 4-1, m.67: Pepe. 5-1, m.84: Cristiano Ronaldo (pen).


Four options for the new Santiago Bernabeu

Apart from the economic, social (change of statutes to try to implement a new form of postal voting) and sporty issues, Florentino Perez will include today in his speech to the Real Madrid Assembly, the exposure of the four projects that are finalists to compete for carrying out the reform of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

A spectacular and pharaonic project consisting in covering the entire facade of the stadium, which in turn will allow to cover the 100% of the seats. In front of the stadium, in the Castellana Street is projected to build a shopping center, while in the present Corner of the Bernabeu (currently a market) will be built a public park because since 2015 this area will be considered as a green area. Also there will be two new parking (with a total capacity of 3,800 vehicles) and the President's Box and the locker rooms will move to the Castellana Street zone.

The four architecture finalist projects will be released today by the president of Real Madrid. The four firms that have participated in the international competition are: Herzog & de Meuron / Rafael Moneo (responsibles for the Allianz Arena in Munich and Beijing National Stadium), Populous / Lamela (Aviva Stadium in Dublin, O2 World Arena in Berlin, Hong Kong Stadium), Norman Foster / Rafael de la Hoz (Endesa Headquarters and Telefonica District C) and GMP Architekten/L35-Ribas (Kiev's Olympic Stadium, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town). These firms are considering in turn the possibility of expanding the capacity of the Bernabeu, now set at 82.000 seats. The idea of the club is that in three years the new skin of the Bernabeu Stadium comes true.

Projects for the future Santiago Bernabeu Stadium 2012
Four Projects for the New Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
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