Due to COVID-19 and the 2019/2020 campaign ending in August, there was trip to the United States for Real Madrid this preseason. Instead, the club played just one warm-up match at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano on Tuesday afternoon.
This was not your typical friendly match. Stats from the clash between Los Blancos and city-rivals Getafe have not been made available and I seriously doubt we will see highlights or any video from the “match” that took place earlier today.
What we do know is that Real Madrid cruised to a 6-0 win, scoring all six goals in the first half, and manager Zinedine Zidane used 22 players – including several Castilla members – in an effort to gain some match sharpness and increase fitness levels.
Here is the Real Madrid XI from the first half that racked up the six goals:
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
Defense: Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo
Midfield: Luka Modric, Casemiro, Sergio Arribas*
Forwards: Marvin Park*, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior
(* indicates Real Madrid Castilla player)
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Clearly from just looking at the scoreline, it was this group of players that exploited Getafe’s defense. Four of the six goals came from Real Madrid’s number nine, Karim Benzema, while the other two came from captain Sergio Ramos and standout academy product Sergio Arribas.
It is exciting as well as relieving to see Karim pick up right where he left off in front of goal. It was his stunning run of goals after the league season restarted that propelled Los Blancos to the title and if they want to recreate that success in 2020/2021, it will be Benz who spearheads the attack.
Arribas – along with Marvin Park – are two players from the UEFA Youth League title winning side that I highlighted and they both were great playing in the first half. It is especially nice to see Arribas get on the scoresheet!
Here is the squad that featured in the second half for Zidane:
Goalkeeper: Andriy Lunin
Defenders: Alvaro Odriozola, Nacho Fernandez, Raphael Varane, Ferland Mendy
Midfielders: Federico Valverde, Antonio Blanco*, Toni Kroos
Forwards: Rodrygo, Borja Mayoral, Miguel Gutierrez*
Of the players available for this friendly, I think it is safe to say this is the “second team.” I can just imagine how many times Kroos and Valverde passed the ball around in the midfield just to kill off the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two combined for 150 pass attempts!
I hope that the players who were not able to feature in this friendly – Eden Hazard, Martin Odegaard, Marco Asensio, Luka Jovic, and others – are getting fit in the gym and preparing for the season with conviction.
We are just four days away from the return of La Liga and competitive fixtures. Real Madrid seems to be clicking offensively already. Let’s keep it going!