Almeria/Madrid, 13 Aug. Real Madrid, current champion of LaLiga and the Champions League, which has started the course as it ended the previous one, with the conquest of a title, the European Super Cup, begins the defense of the crown in the domestic tournament with its visit Almería, who returns to the First Division after being the best in the Second Division last season and wants to settle in the top flight.
A good handful of challenges begin for Carlo Ancelotti’s team in Almería. The great objective, to repeat the league conquest fourteen years later. Since he was proclaimed champion in 2007 and 2008 successively, he has not achieved it. Two of the last three leagues were his, and ‘Carletto’ once signed the record of the only coach who won the five major leagues, wants to extend his dream.
Installed in success, after a return that returned Real Madrid to the path of titles with ‘Champions’, League and Spanish Super Cup, the demand increases for Ancelotti in a season in which he has six titles ahead of him. Already five after showing authority to take the first against Eintracht, the European Super Cup.
The Madrid coach announces rotations, feeling that he has a reinforced block. Finished the glorious cycle but with a final of little contribution from players like Marcelo, Gareth Bale and Isco, the arrival of Antonio Rüdiger and Aurélien Tchouaméni increases the physical and defensive strength. Initially, Ancelotti did not force Dani Carvajal, who suffered a sprained ankle in preseason and played in Helsinki, and lost Rodrygo in the first muscle problem in the squad of the course.
The Madrid referents will be the same. Especially decisive Thibaut Courtois in goal, who aspires to improve the 29 goals conceded in 36 games last year, and the lethal connection Vinícius (17 goals) and Karim Benzema (27 goals in 32 games) in an attack for which he tries to recover to Eden Hazard. The Belgian, freed from pain and without conditions and without a plate on his ankle, will always be a replacement offensive option for his coach. Already in Almería taking advantage of Rodrygo’s loss if he beats Marco Asensio.
On the right wing, the presence of Lucas Vázquez is expected, also with options Nacho Fernández who awaits another course having to row more than anyone to have minutes after increasing competition to play in the center with Militao, David Alaba and the arrival of Rudiger. And he remains to see how to manage Dani Ceballos from ‘Carletto’ at a time when he decides whether to continue or leave in search of a greater role. He could relieve Luka Modric from the start.
Despite the latest goals on their visits (0-5 and 1-4), the most recent in December 2014, Real Madrid only won half of their games in Almería. They lost the first, in 2008, and drew twice.
For the Andalusians the affront is extremely complicated. Not in vain, he still does not have all the signed players registered in LaLiga and there is doubt about whether any of those who are on the payroll will leave, with attention focused above all on the Nigerian striker Sadiq Umar and the Belgian winger Largie Ramazani.
The coach, Joan Francesc Ferrer ‘Rubi’, who repeats the post after promotion, has acknowledged that “the team is still in the construction phase” but that he is “convinced that it will compete quite well”.
Some of the pre-season games have left clues about how to act in Sunday’s game, even with a different system than the one he usually exhibited during most games last season, with the possibility of playing with three central defenders and two lanes , a formula that Rubi has used on some occasions.
To date, Rubi does not have a specific right-back, since neither Alejandro Pozo, from Seville, nor Houboulang Mendes, from France, Guinea, who arrived from French L’Orient, are registered for the match against the Madrid team. It is true that during the preseason the Galician center-back Juan Brandariz Movilla ‘Chumi’ could be seen occupying that position in some of the games played.
A team is glimpsed with not many news regarding last year, always with the doubt of a possible validity of the registration of some player -Pozo, Mendes, Pacheco or Baptistao are not in the relationship- or a possible exit.
– Likely lineups:
Almeria: Ferdinand; Chumi, Ely, Babic, Akieme; Cesar de la Hoz, Samu Costa; Portillo, Robertone, Appiah; and Sadiq Umar.
Real Madrid: Courtois; Lucas Vazquez, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric or Ceballos; Hazard, Vinicius and Benzema.
Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera (Valencian Committee).
Stadium: Power Horse Stadium.
The key: The defensive consistency that Almería is capable of showing, which must change its mind from being one of the roosters in the Second Division to looking to curb Real Madrid’s offensive power.
The fact: Almería last played in the First Division in the 2014-15 season. He returns after seven campaigns in the Second Division.
. Rubi: “We don’t think about the rival’s greatness, but about a historic opportunity.”
. Ancelotti: “We have all the hope in the world to start a season in which we defend the title well”.
The setting: The Almeria stadium opens in an official match under its new name, the Power Horse Stadium, and will register a spectacular entrance with the visit of Real Madrid.