Monday, 14 July 2008

Preseason kicks off

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Another season starts this Monday when those Real Madrid players without an exemption for international duty over the summer meet up in Madrid for the start of the preseason. This first week will consist of rest, relaxation and 'team building' at the exclusive resort of Vale do Lobo in the Portuguese Algarve. The players will be accompanied by their families. Missing from the squad will be European champions Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Rubén de la Red, as well as finalist Metzelder. Marcelo, Robinho, Gago and Drenthe will not join the squad until the end of August, as they will be representing Brazil, Argentina and the Netherlands in the Olympic games in Beijing.

The following Monday, the team will fly out to their usual Austrian preseason base at Irdning, where they will play at least one friendly (against LASK Linz on the 27th July) during their 10-day stay.

Real Madrid will take part in the Emirates Cup on August 2nd (against Hamburg) and August 3rd (against the hosts, Arsenal) in London, before flying across the Atlantic to Colombia for a money-earning friendly against Independiente de Santa Fé in Bogotá. Next on the calendar is a tie in Germany against Eintrach Frankfurt, Real's opponents in the famous 1960 European Cup final at Hapmden Park which finished 7-3 to Real (with 4 goals from the legendary Puskas and 3 from the no-less legendary Di Stefano).

It's then back to Spain for the first trophy of the season, the Spanish Supercup against Copa del Rey winners Valencia. The away tie in Valencia will take place on the weekend of the 16-17 August, with the return leg on the following weekend at the Bernabéu. The final game of the preseason, as is traditional, will be the Santiago Bernabéu trophy, which will feature Sporting Portugal as Real's opponents.

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