Real Murcia vs Real Madrid | Preview
Real Madrid kick start yet another campaign of the Copa Del Rey, this time against Real Murcia. This isn’t just another Real Murcia side. This is a team which is at par with Real in at least one front if not all. Murcia along with us is the only other side in professional Spanish football that is yet to taste defeat. Murcia currently lie in Group IV of the Segunda Division B and is the team with the longest history in the Segunda Division.
But this tie is not about the league. This game is about the King’s cup. A trophy that has eluded us for ages now which has caused Mourinho to call up almost all of his best players for the game tonight. Only the likes of Xabi Alonso, Ozil, Carvalho and Marcelo have been left out. The rest of the starters have been called up. To emphasize on our intent a little more, even the almighty Iker Casillas will take part in a cup game after four years of exile. Cristiano Ronaldo will also be starting and infact will be making his Cup debut. Pepe and Arbeloa too have been confirmed as starters. Also, Sergio Ramos has been passed fit to play the game tonight.
Usually the domestic cup games are not taken seriously by the senior players at least in Spain but this time JM has signaled his intent of winning the competition. But does that mean the likes of Granero and Pedro Leon won’t be getting a chance here as well? No. That is not the case. Our manager has said that this will be the chance for Granero, Pedro and Benzema to prove their worth to him and tell him why he needs to make them a starter. Fair play isn’t it?
REAL MADRID SQUAD LIST
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adan, Jesus.
Defenders: Albiol, Arbeloa, Pepe, Mateos, Sergio Ramos.
Midfielders: Khedira, Granero, Diarra, Canales, Pedro Leon, Di Maria, Juanfran.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain, Benzema.
Tuesday’s match will be significant for both Pedro Leon and Raul Albiol. The midfielder returns to his place of birth and the city that saw him make his professional debut, while the defender will come face-to-face with his brother Miguel, a midfielder for Murcia.
Jorge Valdano managed to discuss Tuesday’s Copa del Rey opener ahead of the game at an event in Madrid. The Director General said that the team is heading down to Murcia with every intention of winning the competition. What interested me though was what he had to say about Karim Benzema:
Benzema is very young. Not everyone takes the same time to get going. Some like Ozil and Di Maria adjust in months, but others take longer whether it’s because of language or personality barriers. There is no doubt Benzema is talented and he will soon show us what he is capable of.
Is that the case? Hasn’t Benzema spent enough time in Spain already for him start paying back the club that spent so many millions on him? I am not questioning his talent, but I am unsure as to whether it is the language/personality barriers that prevent him from performing. I just feel that he is not working hard enough. I might be wrong but this is what I feel.
Someone who is at his peak though is little Marcelo. Marcelo recently hit the century mark in matches played for Real Madrid against Racing Santander and had kind words about the current state of affairs at the club:
I am very happy here and want to continue improving. I need to work hard if I want to play in many more matches. I am very comfortable in Madrid. I have been working just how Mourinho has asked me to. A few weeks ago I said that every training session with Mourinho is like a battle. All I need to do is put everything he tells me into play on the pitch.
And that is exactly what I feel Benzema, Granero and others wanting to start should do. Currently Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo and Higuain are performing at their best. The competition for a place in the side does not seem to be there. The bench strength we have compared to several other sides is brilliant. But that’s only on paper one has to admit. These players need to pick themselves up and get ready to battle.
Anyhoo, a cup game and a win is a must. It cannot be stressed further as to how crucial a win tomorrow will be as this is one trophy that has been eluding us for decades now. The players have a point to prove and the coach is intent on winning the trophy. The mood just can’t get better. Mourinho yesterday said that:
If last year’s situation [at Alcorcon] repeats itself, I will cross those who play off my list because they will be dead to me.
And I am pretty sure he means it.
Let’s hope that the cup misery ends tomorrow.
Para Siempre Blanco!