One to Watch: LA Galaxy v Real Madrid

It’s like you’ve selected the ‘Randomise Team’ option on FIFA 11, except it’s really happening! Real Madrid take on LA Galaxy and a certain David Beckham in a pre-season friendly this weekend…

The two teams had a sparring session last year but Beckham missed out due to an achilles injury.  This time he’s fully fit and eagerly anticipating the match, especially after scoring directly from a corner-kick against Chicago just last weekend.

His former side, Real Madrid, will be looking to sharpen their claws by picking away at the Los Angeles outfit, in preparation for what promises to be another hotly contested La Liga.   With Barcelona at the helm, Madrid need all the preparation they can get to reclaim the Spanish crown.

Some may see the friendly as a bit of a holiday-game but the Beckham factor could create a little bit of competition amongst the players. The former United star has expressed his feelings for the Spanish giants saying:

“I spent four amazing years at Real Madrid. To go from a club like Manchester United to Real Madrid, it really doesn’t get much better than that in football. I’ve got many friends still there, many friends as players and fans and throughout the club as well.”

Beckham has forever been in the public eye and the media hang on to his every word but he appeared very chilled out on the Late Show with Craig Ferguson (see video below) just last month. Still, it annoys me to hear the former England captain refer to football as ‘soccer’ – it makes me feel cheated, like Stacy Giggs, Abbey Clancy, Coleen Rooney and every other WAG who knows perfectly well what they’re getting into (apologies, I got a little carried away there)!

Speaking of WAGs, Posh and Becks have just welcomed their newborn daughter into the world and have come under some harsh criticism for naming her ‘Harper Seven’.  I think it’s a lovely name and a great way to pay tribute to Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman for what was a classic detective picture from the ’90s.

As for the game tomorrow – it is not going to be broadcast live on British television but can probably be found on a number of illegitimate websites which I would know nothing about or condone in any way.

Kick off…

LA Time: 7.00pm Saturday 16th July
UK Time: 2.00am Sunday 17th July

I’m fully aware that this is perhaps the most awkward selection for ‘One to Watch’ ever but there’s really not much else on!

Team of the Week – Real Madrid

Real Madrid defeated league leaders, Barcelona, in a final that required extra time to be settled.  It’s the first time in 18 years Madrid have won the Copa Del Rey…oh – and Sergio Ramos dropped the trophy from the team bus during the celebrations!

Real Madrid had Cristiano Ronaldo to thank as it was his extra-time header which gave them the victory.  Holding on for the remainder of time was a tough ask for Madrid following Dia Maria’s sending off in extra-time, via two yellows cards.

Iker Casillas was in top form to repel any threat from the great Lionel Messi and anyone else who dared to test the ‘best keeper in the world.’  A goal from the little Argentinean would have been his 50th of the season but it was his nemesis Ronaldo who went on to get the only goal of the game – his 41st this season.

Ronaldo came close on numerous occasions in regular time but Barca’s second-choice goalie, Juan Manuel Pinto, was stubborn between the sticks.  Pinto did get caught sleeping though in the first half but Javier Mascherano saved his skin with a superb clearance off the line, to the dismay of Ronaldo.

Barcelona did manage to find the net in the second-half, only for the goal to be ruled offside.  Pedro was unfortunate to be denied what would have been a great goal after some magical work from Messi in the build-up.  The Argentine was the architect for another major chance just moments later, this time it was Andres Iniesta who failed to beat Casillas.

It was Real’s persistence that ultimately claimed the trophy and their relentless approach to the game certainly got the better of a laboured Barca side.  The game was the second in a quartet of El Classicos over 18 days.

Barcelona won the third derby match 0-2 at the Bernabeu, in the first of two Champion’s League semi-final legs.  Jose Mourinho’s comments after that game have put him in prime position for Muppet of the Week so make sure you check back in for more details next week.

Speaking of muppets – Sergio Ramos somehow dropped the Copa Del Rey trophy from the top deck of Madrid’s parading bus.  The cup was swept underneath the bus and effectively run over, causing severe damage.  We would have named Ramos as Muppet of the Week but his legendary Tweet regarding the incident granted him muppet immunity:

“It didn’t fall, it jumped when it reached Cibeles and saw so many Madrid fans.”