Real Madrid completed their triumphant LaLiga season and warmed up for next week’s Champions League final against Liverpool with a goalless draw with visiting Real Betis at the Bernabeu on Friday.
With Madrid already confirmed as champions and fifth-placed Betis knowing they’ll miss out on a Champions League place, there was little to play for for either side. And the relaxed celebratory mood was evident with Madrid receiving a guard of honor and returning the favor to Copa del Rey winners Betis ahead of kickoff.
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“We played the game we wanted to play, take no risks, play at a good rhythm… I didn’t want to take risks,” Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti told Movistar afterward. “We can now rest for two days and prepare for the game. The rhythm was quite slow, we didn’t push too much, we tried to control the ball, I can’t ask for more.”
And, while Carlo Ancelotti started with a lineup close to the one he is likely to field in Paris on May 28, chances were few and far between.
Looking to move clear of Raul in second place on Madrid’s all-time scoring list, Karim Benzema was unable to take advantage of Madrid’s two best chances, coming in the first 10 and last 10 minutes. Betis missed their best opportunity in the dying moments when veteran substitute Joaquin shot over from close range on his 600th LaLiga appearance.
The one notable absence from the Madrid lineup was David Alaba, though Ancelotti said afterward that the defender would “100%” be ready for the Champions League final.
There was also a substitute appearance from Isco in his final outing at the Bernabeu before he leaves the club this summer. Another player on the way out, Gareth Bale, didn’t feature but Ancelotti suggested he could yet make a final appearance for the club in Paris.
As for who will start against Liverpool, Ancelotti made it clear his mind is already made up.
“I’m clear who’ll play from the start and then we’ll see what happens during the game,” he said. “We won’t start with 11 and finish with the same 11, there’ll be changes during the game.
“The plan is quite clear, we know the opponent well, Liverpool are a great team with different characteristics, we have to play a game to show the strengths we have.”
Real Madrid finish the LaLiga season with 86 points from 38 games, currently 13 points clear of Barcelona ahead of their rivals’ final game of the campaign.
Betis remain fifth in the standings on 65 points, having already qualified for next season’s Europa League by winning the Copa del Rey last month.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are two points behind fourth-placed Sevilla but were already out of contention for a Champions League spot due to an inferior head-to-head record.
Information from ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Reuters was used in this report.
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Real Madrid completed their triumphant LaLiga season and warmed up for next week’s Champions League final with a goalless draw against Real Betis.
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