Real Madrid vs Valencia CF
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Coach: Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pellegrino
Date: 19.08.2012; 19:00 CET
Its that of the year again as the new season starts and Valencia CF goes up against last year's league champions Real Madrid in the first game of the season. The luck of the draw couldn't have been harder for Valencia CF for the opening 3 games, going against Real Madrid first, week later Deportivo La Coruna and then FC Barcelona. Of course this could mean easier finish, though that is not true as we go against Sevilla in the last of the matches.
Real MadridReal Madrid are the defending champions from last season and they will be looking to add some more trophy's and start this season with a win to put them on a good momentum which is very important these days for the battle for the title against Barcelona as every point in the later stages counts.
Real Madrid are certainly the favorites to win the title again this season as they have the core team from last season with possibly one new addition in Luka Modric from Tottenham, but the team has grown and some new and youth players could break through. Luka Modric didn't feature yesterday for Tottenham so he is likely very close to joining Real Madrid and is probably going to serve as a backup to Xabi as their central midfield is already packed.
Real Madrid had a good preseason as they won all but one of their matches, against Benfica they suffered a surprising and large loss of 5-2. After that though it was all straight wins, beating Milan 5-1 in the process. Players like Kaka and Di Maria and Nuri Sahin also fully fit, after struggling with injuries for long parts, they will be ready to battle to prove themselves, unless Sahin leaves of course which there are still rumors that he may.
Real Madrid Squad:
Line-up: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Xabi, Khedira; Di Maria, Kaka, Ronaldo; Benzema.
Valencia CFValencia CF are the defending "champions" from the second tier, second league within La Liga and third season in a row Valencia CF is the "champions". Realistically its only 3rd place, which is a good result no doubt, but the top two clubs are so much better that in the past several years it has been a two horse races and the points difference between second and third 30 points.
Valencia CF broke ties with Unai Emery at the end of last season on a good note, as he went on to coach Spartak Moscow and Valencia CF brought in former player and one of the best defenders at Valencia CF Mauricio Pellegrino, who was assistant coach to Rafael Benitez at Inter and then previously Liverpool. So while he doesn't have too much experience leading a team, he knows how to coach and has also worked with many coaches in his career as a player for Valencia CF. He also brings that champions mentality the team had when they were finalists in the Champions league and winning La Liga.
Valencia CF strengthened significantly this season with some great signings, but also lost several good players as well, like Jordi Alba who transferred to our rival Barcelona, Topal who went back to Turkey as he missed his home, Aduriz who went to Bilbao and so on.
While we lost players we also got some as well, Valencia CF managed to capture a rising star, a huge talent who is considered the successor to Silva in Jonathan Viera for only 2.5 million euros. Andres Guardado joined Valencia CF from Deportivo as a free agent after he refused to extend his contract with Deportivo and signed for Valencia CF. Valencia CF looked long and hard at a right back and at the end we ended up with the cheaper option in Joao Pereira, but judging from the Euro 2012 it turned out we made a great decision as he showed he is a secure defender and consistent in his form.
We also bought Fernando Gago from Real Madrid and bought Sergio Canales in a deal that featured both of them and just few days ago we also brought in a new attacker Nelson Valdez who comes in as a back-up to Roberto Soldado as the coach gives Paco time to mature.
Valencia CF preseason was very good, with a bit of a surprising loss at the end there, but ultimately it was a good preseason with good results and we won the most important match of the preseason the match against Tottenham. In the preseason Viera really shone and showed off his talent multiple times, finding some amazing passes that resulted in goals and in the very near future he will turn into a star. Paco also showed signs of his talent and Jonas confirmed that he is going to be a very important player for Valencia CF this season.
Valencia CF Squad:
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves, Felipe Ramos.
Defenders: Barragán, Joao Pereira, Rami, Víctor Ruiz, Ricardo Costa, Mathieu.
Midfielders: Albelda, Gago, Parejo, Tino Costa, Feghouli, Pablo, Piatti, Guardado.
Forwards: Viera, Jonas, Valdez, Soldado.
Line-up: Diego; Pereira, R. Costa, Ruiz, Mathieu; Gago, Tino; Feghuoli, Jonas, Guardado; Soldado
Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia CF
We must admit to our-self that Real Madrid are realistically the better team and with such talent as Cristiano Ronaldo, Di Maria, Ozil, Benzema already at such a high level and playing all the time reaching their potential we only have developing talent like Viera, Canales, Guarado, Bernat and Paco some of which may need at least 2 more years to develop and be ready.
The one thing going in Valencia CF favor is the international friendlies that were played as Real Madrid had a lot more players go and many of them played so that would make them slightly more tired, though we had quite a few players go with their national teams as well.
Both teams had very good preseasons so we can't give the advantage to any club from the preseason, so taking all into account, the home terrain for Real, the fact that they are the more stable team as Valencia CF changed coaches this summer and we had a lot more players leaving and coming, Real Madrid is likely to win this match, although I'm not giving them a huge advantage and expect them to win 2-1.