Before you go and hand Real Madrid an easy win in Saturday's clash against Real Betis, keep in mind it was the latter squad that came away with a 1-0 win in November.
And keep in mind that this draw means much more for Betis than Los Blancos, as well. While Real Madrid's title hopes are out the window but a spot in the Champions League secured,vf Betis is seventh on the table and is six points out of the Champions League and just two points out of the Europa League.
This is a huge game for the team, in other words. So will Real Madrid drop its second game of the season to Betis, or will the mighty Los Blancos handle their business at home?
When: Saturday, April 20 at 12 p.m. ET
Where: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Watch: beIN Sport
Streaming: For streaming, check individual cable-carrier services such as TWC TV.
What They're Saying
There hasn't been a whole lot of talk about actual football in Madrid this week. First, there were reports that Jose Mourinho wouldn't be returning next season.
From Dermot Corrigan of ESPN:
Reports emerged on Wednesday afternoon that Mourinho had revealed that he would definitely not be at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu next term, immediately leading to speculation that he already agreed to rejoin former club Chelsea, or perhaps take over at Paris Saint-Germain.
These reports soon looked premature however, when it became clear that they were based on an apparent joke Mourinho made while giving a talk to coaches at the Madrid junior club where his own son plays.
Real Madrid, which posted revenue of $650 million during the 2011-12 season, is worth $3.3 billion, more than any team in the world. Los Blancos generated operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and player trading) of $134 million, more than any soccer team and second only to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys ($227 million) among all sports teams.
It's rare that such talk would trump actual football speak, but with the team trailing Barcelona by 13 points on La Liga's table, the championship is all but out of reach.
Real Madrid Player to Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo
With a Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, it's possible the superstar will sit or be used as a substitute on Saturday. But make no mistake about it, when Ronaldo's on the pitch, he's the man to watch.
Ronaldo is once again proving to be one of the world's top players, with 52 goals and eight assists in 52 appearances for the team. When you're averaging a goal for every appearance, you're a special player.
Besides, while I think Lionel Messi is the better overall player, I think Ronaldo is more fun to watch. His pace, ball control, ability to score from distance and general flair make him breathtaking to watch. Watching Ronaldo roam on the wing and drift centrally while confounding defenders is a treat to watch.
Real Betis Player to Watch: Ruben Castro
If you want to identify one reason why Real Betis is in the running for European play next season, look no further than Ruben Castro. The forward has been excellent for Betis this season, with 16 goals and five assists in 27 appearances.
Sure, when these teams last met it was the Betis defense that won the day. But if you really think this team can give up 69 percent of possession and hope to hold Los Blancos scoreless, you've got another thing coming.
If Betis is to even earn a point, Castro is going to have to come up clutch for the side.
Here's one thing I've learned as a footy fan over the years—betting against Real Madrid at home is an unwise decision. I know Betis has more to play for and won the first meeting between these teams, but Real Madrid has really found its footing in the past two months and is simply the superior side.
Real Madrid wins, 2-1.
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