Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
30 April, 2011; 17:00 pm, BST
After their exploits in the most shameful clasico in recent memory, Real Madrid look to take to the field again at home against a beleaguered Real Zaragoza in a dead rubber in the La Liga.
In other developments, FC Barcelona have referred Jose Mourinho to UEFA on his baseless comments after the match, while Real Madrid have come out in support of their coach by complaining about Barcelona players’ behavior. The swords have been drawn off the pitch and Spanish football looks to be the biggest loser. Vicente Del Bosque has his work cut out, when the Spanish players come together for their next assignment and would definitely be worried about the camaraderie among them. It was supposed be an advertisement of La Liga over other leagues; however, it turned out to be the worst possible advertisement for potentially the most creative league in the world.
Jose Mourinho has asserted that his desire to continue at Real Madrid has strengthened but relationships between some players and coach seem to have gone wrong. Cristiano Ronaldo has been dropped from the game, as Mourinho thinks that he has enough attacking options. It appears that Mourinho has reprimanded Ronaldo for his remarks, post match. The Portuguese winger claimed, “I don’t like it but I have to adapt to what is asked of me.” A very crucial Clasico awaits them at the Camp Nou and such things look to destroy the Real Madrid team from within. Cristiano Ronaldo has been by far the most influential player on the pitch and his exclusion has raised eyebrows and all eyes are on the coach and his star player’s reactions. As football fans, we can only hope that everything gets alright before next Tuesday.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Sergio Ramos and Pepe are suspended from the CL second leg and would take the field in their positions on the right and centre respectively. Raul Albiol could be rested and Garay could take the field to keep both Carvalho and Albiol fresh for next week. Nacho Fernandez made his debut last week in the thrashing of Valencia and Mourinho would give more chances to the talented defender. Alonso and Lass have been rested for this clash, as Mourinho might look to play a proper 4-4-2 against Zaragoza.
This might be a great chance for Canales and Kaka to get some more playing time before the season ends. Kaka might be played in the role of a play-maker and is likely to start against Barcelona, as Madrid has nothing to lose and would look to showcase their attacking prowess. The attacking trio of Kaka, Benzema and Higuain mauled Valencia and are most likely to do the same to Zaragoza.
Mourinho is known to test his strategies before very important games and this game provides the perfect platform to test his team’s attacking prowess.
Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Garay, Nacho, Ozil, Kaka, Granero, Canales, Benzema, Higuain
Zaragoza are struggling to avoid relegation but it is hard to see them coming out with a point. Real Madrid are wounded and would go for the kill. Zaragoza can only hope for Mourinho’s men to have an off day in office so that they can leave the Bernabeu with their heads held high.
Javier Aguirre’s side has lost five out of their six matches and also have won only one away match this season. In team news, Ander Herrera was dismissed last weekend and will subsequently miss this fixture. Kalu Uche and Ivan Obradovic both return from suspensions. Nicolos Bertolo got injured against Almeria and is likely to get fit in time to face Real Madrid. If not, Aguirre might not take chances and rest him for the Osasuna game.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Doblas, Diogo, Jarosik, Da Silva, Obradovic, Ponzio, Gabi, Boutahar, Lafita, Bertolo, Uche
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Kaka (Real Madrid)
The Brazilian play-maker was deemed to feature in the Clasico of shame, but according to Mourinho, Pepe’s red card did not allow Kaka to play any role. However, this time it will be different. Mourinho needs atleast two goals at Camp Nou and Kaka might be the man to look up to. The Brazilian brightened Mestalla with his assists and goals and would look to consolidate his place in the starting eleven.
Real Madrid 4-0 Real Zaragoza
The prediction is a no brainer. Real Madrid at home, fired up to prove their attacking prowess to the world, would come out all guns blazing. Zaragoza would need a miracle to keep them at bay.