September 28, 2009
Entering the match as a substitute after halftime, Kaka supplied a much-needed spark for Pellegrini's side on Saturday. After a lackluster, scoreless first half against newly promoted Tenerife, the Chilean manager opted to make two changes at the break. The introduction of the Brazilian international changed the tempo of the match completely, breathing life into a very casual Madrid squad. Providing a new level of creativity and imagination, Tenerife could not find an answer to slowing Kaka and his playmaking.
In the first half Real seldom looked like a team contending for multiple trophies, creating only one true opportunity. To Tenerife's credit, the club from the Canary Islands executed their game plan perfectly throughout the first forty-five minutes. Shutting down Xabi Alonso in the middle while pressuring Casillas with quick shots, Jose Luis Oltra had his team on terms against one of the most lethal attacking squads in Europe.
September 24, 2009
On Wednesday night Manuel Pellegrini returned to El Madrigal, where he was the man at the helm for five years when Villarreal achieved their greatest success in the Spanish top flight. Supported by the play of Ronaldo and Kaka, the Chilean manager led Real Madrid to victory against a Villarreal team struggling to re-establish themselves as a perennial league contender.
Under Pellegrini Villarreal finished second in La Liga, ten points ahead of Barcelona, during the 2007-2008 season as well as Champions League semi-finals appearance in 2005-2006. Considered a challenger for a top position in the league this year, "the yellow submarine" have started the campaign sluggishly, not the time to play host to a Real Madrid squad looking to improve on their perfect start.
September 21, 2009
A day after league rivals FC Barcelona embarrassed perennial top club Atletico de Madrid, the spotlight was on Real Madrid to answer if they wished to stay atop the table. Forty seconds after kick-off Real had their response. Ronaldo's double accompanied by a late surge from the home side allowed Real to remain even with Barca and more importantly, continue their unblemished start to the season, on nine points after three matches.
Within seconds of the starting whistle, Cristiano Ronaldo took control of a loose ball and skillfully maneuvered his way through the Xerez defence and brilliantly struck home to put Pellegrini's side in control early. If it were not for the excellent play of Renan in net for Xerez, the match could have gotten out of hand very quickly. The Andalusia side, who are marking their first campaign in the top flight of Spanish football this season, were immensely out played early.
Nevertheless, trailing by only one goal for most of the contest, Xerez were able to threaten the Madrid net a few times. The Brazilian international's keeping surely kept the game within sight for Xerez; however, an onslaught in the last fifteen put the game out of reach and elevated Madrid to victory. But for the seventy-four minutes after Ronaldo put Los Blancos ahead, Real were unable to finish, keeping the supporters at the Bernabeu on edge.
September 17, 2009
There was much speculation after the great deal of spending from Real Madrid this past summer; would it translate into a league victory? European success? As the most decorated club of the 20th century, there was much at stake for the second generation of los galacticos.
Acquiring the past two FIFA World Players of the Year was a start; Madrid was, in full affect, attempting to dethrone Barcelona, who had just won the treble (La Liga, Champions League and the Spanish King's Cup). The Bernabeu played host to the first game of the La Liga season as newly assembled Madrid was set to face Deportivo; however, the Galician team was not intimidated. Deportivo came out firing, keeping Madrid on their toes for an hour. The fixture showed, albeit a Madrid victory, that the back line of Los Blancos has not been fully secured and still misses the presence of Sergio Ramos.