Bernabeu Trophy Recap: Real Madrid Wins in a Sloppy Game

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 24: (L-R) New Real Madrid players Fabio Coentrao, Jose Callejon, Nuri Sahin, Hamit Altintop and Raphael Varane pose as new Real Madrid players before of the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy match between Real Madrid and Galatasaray at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on August 24, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

It wasn't much of a brilliant game, but Madrid managed to nail the win with a goal from Karim Benzema in the first minutes of the second half. Mourinho didn't start Cristiano, Özil and Benzema, so Kaká, Higuaín and Callejón had the chance to prove that they were competing for their respective spots.

Mourinho started Xabi Alonso and Coentrao in the midfield, and the Portuguese played really well, pressing every single minute. Varane also started along side Pepe, and showed that he has starter potential. In 45 minutes, he intercepted some dangerous passes, and he almost scored off a corner-kick. This guy is very interesting, and I think he has already taken Albiol's spot as the main backup center back.

While José Callejón gave a very decent effort on the wing, Kaká and Higuaín actually showed how good Benzema and Özil are.

The brazilian keeps trying, but he is slow, and he doesn't seem to recover that stride he developed in AC Milan. He still has the quality, and he still can produce some good combinations with the forwards, but he is definitely not worth his salary, and I would, for once, consider his transfer if we can get a good backup for about the same price. We all had hopes for him because this is his first complete preseason with the team without any injuries, but I don't think he can change the flow of a game anymore.

Gonzalo Higuaín has still not recovered totally from his injury. He lacks the quickness he was known for prior to his injury, and that was his main virtue. He has never been that kind of effective striker, but he created so many goal scoring opportunities that even if he didn't convert a good percentage of them, he still could score many goals in a season. Pipa needs to improve, I still think he has some extra weight, and if we have both Benzema and Higuaín in shape, this can be the best offensive side in the whole world, considering the additions of Cristiano, Özil and Di María.

Unfortunately, Nuri Sahin was not in the final list of the game, so we were not able to see him make his debut. Mourinho just confirmed in his post-match press conference that Nuri is getting better, and that he is going to be essential to this team.

The team did not play well for the first 30 minutes, and Inan scored for Galatasaray in the tenth minute. Eboue dribbled Sergio Ramos and passed the ball back to the penalty spot. Inan just needed to convert an easy shot to beat Adán. I think Ramos was not any good on this goal, he slipped and let Eboue dribble to the other side. It would be better for us if Sergio could move to center back--let's hope we can find some right fullback next season.

In the 32nd minute, Di Maria pressed Ujfalusi and recovered the ball while getting fouled. Alonso kicked the foul and Ramos scored with a powerful header. The goal was opportune, since Madrid was still struggling and Özil, Cristiano and Karim were already warming up.

Higuaín missed a one-on-one situation against Muslera when he tried to dribble by him, in a similar situation to last year's game in Levante, where he missed in added time.

When the team entered the field in the second half, Benzema, Özil, Cristiano, Carvalho and Albiol were already on the pitch for Callejón, Higuaín, Kaká, Varane and Pepe.

Benzema only needed five minutes to show how brilliant he is against the goalkeeper. Xabi Alonso delivered a magnificent pass to Benzema, who faced Muslera and scored a world-class goal. That is what Higuaín should have done with his first half opportunity.

The rest of the game was pretty superfluous, other than seeing Alex Fernández and Morata play. The red-haired canterano could be one of various possible replacements for Lassana Diarra: he is an outstanding midfielder, similar to Khedira. I don't know whether the team is considering a reinforcement if Diarra's deal is confirmed, but Fernández could be an option, since he is already our player and a young canterano. With him on the field, Coentrao moved to the wing until Morata entered the game for him. With Benzema on the wing, I think Morata felt quite comfortable and pressed quite well. I think we won't bring another striker, so Morata can use this minutes to get used to the elite level.

Not a brilliant game, but the seventh Bernabeu Trophy in a row is worth it. It's good to win even when you don't play that well, and Galatasaray has some good players like Muslera, Ujfalusi, Melo, Eboue and Baros, so it was a competitive game. Xabi Alonso won the Man of the Match trophy voted by the press.

The strange thing about the game is that Casillas did not play but raised the trophy alongside Ramos, and some tabloids (especially Marca) suggested that Mourinho is punishing him for calling Xavi and Puyol to apologize. Mourinho said in his post-match press conference that he wanted the young Adán to play so he can be ready at any minute if the team needs him. I don't think it's that big of a deal, but Marca probably now have another rumor about Real Madrid's dressing room to sell more newspapers.

If the strike finally gets canceled, let's hope Khedira and Sahin can be ready for the weekend. And remember, tomorrow is the Champions League Group Stage Draw!


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