The biggest game of the season fell in Los Blancos favor.
Pedro Munitis and Ruben de la Red rolled back the years in an important victory for the famed Real Madrid Legends side in Israel.
Both sides trotted out quite an obscure group of players to relieve their glory years on a football pitch. Courtesy of having employed most their best former legends as managers or ambassadors ( Iker Casillas was in the crowd), calling the side that lined up for Real Madrid legends is probably a little strong. The biggest names on the team sheet were undoubtedly Roberto Carlos - who captained the side - and Luis Figo. Ivan Campo and Fernando Sanz were also present alongside the likes of Ruben de la Red and Jose Amavisca. Barring that, there were some good Real Madrid pub quiz answers decked out in the all white such as striker Alfonso Perez who is also Real Betis third highest goalscorer.
Barcelona boasted the better lineup on paper. Rivaldo, Javier Saviola (one of six across both sides to have played for both clubs), Deco and Ronaldinho all featuring for La Blaugrana. Perhaps courtesy of their big names, Barca dominated the opening part of this game. Ronaldinho put in a “still got it” sort of half which Youtube is bound to enjoy, setting up a rather off pace Rivaldo for a couple chances. Eventually, the Br azilian himself put Barca in front from the penalty spot.
Real Madrid highlights mostly came from long shots, the best from Ruben de la Red as it landed right at the feet of Amavisca with the goal at his mercy. Unfortunately he bundled the shot over the bar and the half finished 1-0.
That a late 1990/early 2000s side was run ragged by Ronaldinho was probably fitting, however, the Real Madrid Legends (or Real Madrid Dudes as I’ve taken to calling them) were keen to flip the script in the second half. Mere minutes into the restart and The Dudes were level courtesy of a Amavisca long shot rebounding to Pedro Munitis whom scored after taking the goalkeeper out of the equation.
At this moment in time, Pedro Munitis is most famous at Real Madrid for celebrating a goal against the club when he was on loan at Racing Santander during the 2002-03, but the virtuoso performance he put on in the first 10 minutes of the second half will certainly go a long way to rewriting the history books. Not long after levelling, Munitis chinked past his markers out wide and crossed into Alfonso Perez to, rather unconvincingly, put Real Madrid in front.
The match settled after Real’s second, Madrid happy to sit back on their 2-1 lead. Roberto Carlos came off around the 60th minute and was soon joined by Luis Figo (whom Barca fans still hate enough to boo at a friendly). Then just before the 70 minute, 2 time appearance maker Jofre Mateu put Ivan Campo on his backside and levelled the match at 2-2 with a near post finish. In celebration, he had confetti poured into his hand and threw it over himself while the rest of his teammates stood back and watched.
The excitement didn’t end there as Real Madrid responded immediately. Picking up possession from a foul, famous ex-young person Ruben de la Red skipped past a sliding tackle and swerved the ball into the far corner.
In spite of Barcelona’s best efforts, de la Red’s goal was enough to seal sweet Clasico victory for Real Madrid. The highlights reel after this is mostly off the pitch where Luis Figo asked the fourth official to check VAR for an incident on the pitch and gave a young kid a jacket in spite of the best effort of some man trying to pull him away. Overall, the match wasn’t much in terms of nostalgia but it was fun for all involved. More to come on the podcast later on.