10 May 2006
Match Report by José L. Sánchez
Photos by David R. Anchuelo, Daniel Sastre & Fernando Comeche
Translation by Luis Orueta
Six strikes as a tribute to the Gold Arrow in an evening of tremendous significance for the great Argentina-born player. Ramos, who scored the first, Cassano -2-, Jurado and Soldado -2- finished off an excited and devoted Stade de Reims, which attended the hommage paid to their executioner during the first European Cup. Moved and extremely thankful, Don Alfredo enjoyed the first match played in these exceptional facilities that carry his name.
Playing with no pressure, far away from the concentration levels that the championship requires, Real Madrid had the chance of pleasing their fans and, above all, of dedicating a victory to Don Alfredo Di Stéfano, who followed the game closely from the Presidential Box. Meanwhile, Di Stéfano had the chance of looking back and assessing how much football and all that surrounds this world have changed.
López Caro continued the tactical setup implemented last Sunday against Villarreal, changing only Pablo García for Cassano as the Uruguayan has a few slight pains. This left Raúl as the second attacker. The Stade de Reims, twelfth in the French second division, was thrilled and wanted to please everyone as a thank you gesture following Real Madrid's invitation. Five thousand fans hoped for a goal-studded evening.
Kudoz for Ramos
The French side stepped out onto the field insiting on being the first team to score at the Alfredo Di Stéfano. And they almost did after a shot by Bonnal which bounced off the crossbar, rebounded off Íker's back, and bounced back over the bar. Or with another try by Feret… which made everyone present shout in fear of the opponent's goal.
But it is Sergio Ramos, the best at the beginning of the match with Mejía, who will go down in the history books when he just pushed in the ball on the goal line after a deflection by rival keeper Weber following his own header on goal (14¿). Still, Stade de Reims wanted to put up a fight an rise to the occasion. And they did, scoring just a few minutes after. Feret (18¿) scored the equaliser, but that would only last another minute because Cassano proved his class with a shot from just outside the penalty box (19¿).
Before halftime, Il Talentino headed in a perfect cross centre by an impeccable Beckham, whose every long pass was a work of art. The lack of tension gave way to yet another goodbye for Zidane, who tried to please the spectators with ball controls and skills that will be sorely missed for years to come in Madrid. As the game proceeded, the fans started demanding the presence of Guti in the national team… while the players who would feature during the second half were already warming up on the sidelines. They were none other than B-teamers Jurado and Soldado, whose explosive beginning was spectacular. Real Madrid Castilla's nº ‘10’ volleyed the ball in superbly on the 47-minute mark and folowed through with plays brimming with football skill and vision; the striker left the fans open-mouthed with a scissor-kick that hit the back of the French net (59¿).
The appetite and willingness of the B-team players, the indefatigable presence of Cicinho down the line, or the return of Helguera and Pavón to the team were some of the best news of the night… plus another goal by Soldado (73¿), all of which made Alfredo Di Stéfano expecially proud. He had to fight off the myriad of memories that came knocking by concentrating on the future stars of Real Madrid. They will be using this facility before they get promoted to play for the first team, precisely the one that catapulted the Blond Arrow to fame and fortune during the 1950s. A perfect finale for an unforgettable evening which finished with a standing ovation for all the old, new... and timeless Madridistas.
Thank you, Maestro!
6 – REAL MADRID: Casillas (Diego López 46¿); Salgado (Cicinho 46¿), Ramos (Pavón 46¿), Mejía (Arbeloa 46¿), Roberto Carlos (Raúl Bravo 46¿); Guti (Helguera 46¿), Zidane (Jurado 46¿), Beckham (Diogo 46¿), Robinho (De la Red 46¿); Raúl (Baptista 46¿) (Jotha 70¿) and Cassano (Soldado 46¿).
1 – STADE DE REIMS: Weber (Olivier 39¿); Giraudon (Commingees 60¿), Delmonte (Leonard 46¿), Jeannel (Ongoly 71¿), Balde; Ielsch (Farsante 60¿), Feret (Ribas 71¿), Bonnal, Didot; Baleguhe (Lunbald 46¿) and Nzigou (Boulanger 60¿).
1-0, min. 14: Ramos heads in Weber's deflection after his own header.
1-1, min. 18: Feret crosses the ball past Casillas after dribbling Ramos.
2-1, min. 19: Cassano, just outside the box.
3-1, min. 27: Cassano heads in an excellent assist by Beckham.
4-1, min. 47: Jurado volleys a pass from Diogo.
5-1, min. 59: Soldado scissor-kicks Cicinho's centre.
6-1, min. 73: Soldado, impeccable on the one-on-one.
REFEREE: Esquinas Torres (Madrid Committee). On the day of his goodbye, he was substituted by the fourth referee Ortiz Blanco thirteen minutes before the end. No bookings.
Inaugural match at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium, attended by 5,000 spectators. Alfredo Di Stéfano himself attended the match and sat at the Directors' Box during a very pleasant evening in the capital of Spain.