Real Madrid Vs. Sevilla, La Liga 2013: All Set For Manchester United (4-1)

Jasper Juinen

Cristiano Ronaldo scored an stellar goal on his way to another hattrick and Benzema put up the team's first goal in what ended up being an easy game for los blancos. Jose Mourinho decided to make some rotations, playing Kaká, Albiol, Essien, Modric and also pairing Higuaín, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo upfront. Real Madrid got lucky with Benzema's goal, but then it was all about Ronaldo, as usual.

Cristiano Ronaldo seems ready to play against Manchester United. He scored three past Sevilla, and his first one is something every football fan should take a look at. The Bernabéu immediately started a "Cristiano Ronaldo" chant, and it's good to see the crowd reacting to this magnificent player. Real Madrid got a bit lucky some minutes before, though, as Karim Benzema found the ball right in Sevilla's goal line after it hit a defender in the face. The French player still celebrated the goal, even though he only had to push it inside.

Benzema might now have the edge over Gonzalo Higuaín for the starting spot against Manchester United. The Argentinian player worked well defensively, but he's still struggling upfront and he even saw a second yellow card in the 66th minute that sent him to the showers. His team was already winning 4-0, but Higuaín's foul could be a clear proof to those who say he's frustrated.

Kaká enjoyed an easy game overall. Sevilla never forced him to work defensively and the Brazilian player had some space to create some damage offensively. He didn't play bad, but he's still far from being an option for Mourinho in bigger matches. Modric played really well the first half, but disappeared in the second. Sevilla learnt how to stop his creativity and Emery's men started to foul him every time he got the ball.

Mourinho received some more good news as Pepe made his return more than one month after he played his last game. He had surgery as soon as the team got back from the Christmas break and he worked hard in order to be eligible to play against Manchester United. It might be too son for him, but he will certainly be at full speed for the second leg of the tie at the Old Trafford. Varane played so well against Barcelona that he might deserve another chance to shine against a top team. Pepe joined the game to play in the midfield after Higuaín was sent off, but he would only play there if Alonso and Khedira had serious injuries.

Real madrid's third and fourth goal came in the second half, and Ronaldo was the man behind them. After those, Sevilla's Manu del Moral took profit from a big mistake by Raúl Albiol and was able to score his team's first and only goal in the 87th minute. Maduro was sent off in the 80th after a bad foul to Michael Essien, who performed well in the midfield.

Diego López completed another good game and made some good saves. There was nothing he could do to stop Del Moral's shot, so López's confidence might be getting higher as the matches go by. This next Champions League match will be very important not only for the team but also for him.

Mourinho's plan turned out to be perfect. He rested Di María, Özil, Alonso, Khedira and Varane (all five of them could start against United) and still managed to get a comfortable win and fire up the crowd for the team's upcoming test against the Barclays Premier League's leading team.

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