Real Madrid vs Juventus: 3 Things to Look For

The Fist Pump...a sign of things to come?
The Fist Pump...a sign of things to come?

I should clarify, 3 Things to Look  For- From a Madrid Perspective. This is a Spanish soccer website after all.

Although the preseason is young, several trends have emerged in Real Madrid’s performences and it will be interesting to see if they continue when Real take on the Old Lady of Italian Football, Juventus(Kick-off: Friday, July 31 2009, 20:30 CET).

Here are the 3 to keep your eye on:

1. Pepe( Will Diego Run rampant?)

The biggest knock against the first group of Galacticos was their defense. The likes of Figo, Ronaldo, Zidane, Beckham, and a moderately in form Raul couldn’t make up for the fact that they didn’t have a defense or a strong defensive midfielder to do the dirty work (a la Mascherano). Poor Helguera was consistently shifted in and out of position to cover up Real Madrid’s huge defensive gaps from 2004-2006, until the club hit an al time low with signing of Thomas Graveson! Yes, you read that right, Real’s defense was so pitiful that Graveson was seen as a savior.

Perez has attempted to show his maturation from the first Galactico era with the signings of Albiol and Arbeloa. However, Pepe will play against Juventus and he will probably start during the season. Regardless of what others say, Pepe has looked shakey this preseason. He has been ridiculously lax when defending and is constantly forced to clean up his own mess. Something that might fool others into thinking that he has been defeming well, but I’m a more astute observer than that. On one  particular instance in Madrid’s last game, Salgado tackled a Liga De Quito player from behind and the ball rolled into the box, Pepe hesitated as he moved forward and the attacker was able to regain the ball. Pepe eventually dispossesed the forward after the striker stumbeled. Had Madrid been playing against a truly quality side, Pepe would have been punished for his mistakes(Emphasis on the plural). Imagine Pepe hesitating against Deigo in the box? Take a look at the goal that Diego scored the other day…exactly(This column would have been up an hour earlier had I not spent an hour marveling at Diego and replaying that clip over and over again)

2. Ronaldo’s Reactions

(Before I go on, it must be said that I can’t stand Ronaldo. I hate his antics, I feel he is too selfish, and I don’t understand what position he plays. He used to play as a winger, but then he turned into some sort of winger/striker half breed. Wayne Rooney spent more time on the wing than Ronaldo did in his final two seasons. I wish I could seperate that part of myself and report objectively, but I can’t. So I compensate with full disclosure of my bias. Ok enough of this tangent)

I sincerly believe that Ronaldo was bored at United, and that his disnterest paved the way for his exit. Ronaldo would score forty yard screamers and react nonchalantly, he felt no pressure. But on Wednesday, after scoring a preseason penalty, a Tiger Woodsesque fist pump followed. Ronaldo was so nervous when he was first presented to the Madrid faithful, he bobbled the ball while juggling.

You can chalk up Ronaldo’s nerves to it being early in the season. But it is clear that Ronaldo feels the need to justify his transfer fee, as do the rest of the Galacticos. And when the pressure mounts is it really far fetched to think that each one of them will feel the need to take the game into their own hands? These pressures could lay the foundations for team that becomes easily flustered especially when they go down early.

3. Every Madrid Player on the Pitch

Meaning, who is and who is not on the pitch. Pellegrini has a huge squad at his disposal-with more on the way. Clearly, he won’t use all 35 players during the season. With the start of the season approaching expect the rotation to tighten. Pellegrini has to figure out who will work best together, how to incorporate Raul(No matter who is there, Raul’s got to play. I feel like that is negotiated into each new coaches contract), and what to do with the left over pieces. Pellegrini even gave Guti a run last game. The formation that Pellegrini puts out against Juventus could reveal who has impressed him the most, and who will most likely be staying at the club past August.

Three games into the season is too early to judge a squad. Three games into the PREseason for a team missing one of its key components(Kaka), two new signings(Albiol, Arbeloa) with another major arrival possibly on the way(Alonso) is usually not even grounds for a remark. However, the Real Madrid vs. Juventus Peace Cup Semifinal represents the most interesting  and important match of the Madrid’s preseaon. It is against a quality side(This is becoming increasingly difficult to say about Italian teams. Oh and no disrespect to Tornto FC, who Madird play on August 7th. Ok, ok full disrespect, in terms of world football, you guys stink), it is a match of some importance(loser goes home), and Giorgio Chiellini has been talking smack. Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself, at the end of the day it is an insubstantial offseason match between two sides who haven’t been training for longer than 4 weeks. But at the very least it will allow us to take a break from the transfer market and concentrate on what we all love most for a minimum of two hours, football.

12 thoughts on “Real Madrid vs Juventus: 3 Things to Look For”

  1. Ronaldo’s whole season may depend on the form he gets at the start of the season. Like you mentioned, the pressure is on him to perform but once he struck his good form, i can’t see why he will not keep getting better, unless he faces a big injury. Even if he doesn’t start to perform in early stages, his performance off the pitch and the support of the fans will help to encourage him to find his form. (We know the same thing happened with Beckham when he was out of form.)

    Like other La Liga teams Real Madrid’s squad will be 25, for the upcoming season, not ’35’. =)

  2. Ronaldo is unique in football because of his versatility. Imagine being a manager who is about to face Real Madrid, you have no idea where one of the world’s most dangerous 40 goal scorers is going to be in the opposing formation. And then you adjust your tactics based on where he is and he switches flanks, runs down the middle or constantly alternates as he did during the 2007 champions league campaign. He can pass, create and score goals from any offensive position. Please value what you have in this unique striking force.

  3. I am Juve And Real Fan , bt i am more for real !

    Juve New Signings: Felipe Melo , Diego , Fabio Cannavaro , Michele Paolucci , Carlo Vecchione ( Came From Juve Team U20 ) and Almiron , Nicola Cosentini , Mario Kirev Are Back ( Were Loan )

    Real Madrid New Signings : Ricardo Kaka , Karim Benzema , Raul Albiol , Cristiano Ronaldo , Alvaro Arbeloa , Alvaro Negredo , Esteban Granero , Ezequiel Garay( Was Loan )

    If I Was Juve Trainer : ( And If They Play With All Good Players And If They Dont Play Agressive) || Pls No Injury ||
    Striker : Amauri
    2 Striker : Del Piero
    Left Winger : Giovinco
    Right Winger : Camoranesi
    DM : F.Melo
    CM: Diego ( New Nedved .. My Opinion )
    RB : Grygera
    LB : Molinaro
    CB : Chiellini
    CB : Legrottaglie
    GK : Buffon

    If I Was Real Trainer : ( And If They Play With All Good Players And If They Dont Play Agressive) || Pls No Injury ||

    Striker :Benzema
    Left Winger : Cristiano Ronaldo
    Right Winger : Kaka
    Offensive M: Wesley Sneijder
    CM: Van Der Vaart ( Fuck Gago 90% of his passes go wrong )
    DM: Guti
    RB: Sergio Ramos
    LB: Arbeloa
    CB: Pepe
    CB: Metzelder Or Raul Albiol
    GK: Casillas

    If They Play Like This it will be a Fucking Awesome Match !

  4. How the dynamic of Real unfolds throughout the season should be interesting. I question how much of an indicator this game will be, since players (Ronaldo) are more likely to be selfish during the regular season, and chances are they will have been instructed not to go all out, because it would be silly to risk injury at this point.

    Nonetheless it should be an entertaining match, and I’m going to have to go with juve 2-1

  5. RM need a time for tune up, it’s imposiple to put a bunch of new a players together into the wining team, espesially “stars” over a month or two. Do not forget, they have a new coach with hopefully, new aproach and philosofy of the game. Ronaldo is special, outstanding player and he will do well in any liga. I hope he will not be injured, during the Juve game it looked like he carry bonzai sign on his back.

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