Who: Chelsea FC vs. Real Madrid CF
What: International friendly (Guinness International Champions Cup)
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida, USA
When: Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 2:00 BST (Thursday)/9:00 p.m. EDT/6:00 p.m. PDT
TV: Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN Deportes, Watch ESPN (USA); Chelsea TV (UK)
Worldwide Livestreams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM - Sirius Channel 94
Odds: Real Madrid +110, Chelsea +225, Draw +260
Source: LVH SuperBook (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
3-Way Odds: Real Madrid Even, Chelsea +220, Draw +210
Total: Over 2½ -175, Under 2½ +125
Decimal Odds: Real Madrid 2.00, Chelsea 3.20, Draw 3.10
Decimal Total: Over 2½ 1.57, Under 2½ 2.25
Fractional Odds: Real Madrid 1/1, Chelsea 11/5, Draw 21/10
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 57/100, Under 2½ 5/4
Source: sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
Will all former Chelsea managers please report to the dais, the game is about to begin.
Usually preseason friendlies are pretty cool matches with teams that seldom play each other playing in faraway lands in events to draw interest in the individual clubs and the sport as well as give the sides a chance to warm up for their coming seasons.
But not this one.
The championship game of the Guinness International Champions Cup here couldn’t be any better with two of the galaxy’s best clubs—Real Madrid and Chelsea—meeting in Miami in what promises to be an exciting showdown.
A year ago, José Mourinho was head honcho at Real Madrid and now he’s back at Stamford Bridge to see if he can work some more of his magic for the Europa League champions while former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is now in charge at Santiago Bernabéu for Los Blancos.
Both teams will claim indifference here saying the game is worth zero points but with both Chelsea and Real Madrid undefeated in the preseason and some underlying angst about The Special One’s departure from La Liga club still fresh in the air, deep down inside both would love and will be playing for the win.
Chelsea advanced to this title game by beating Serie A rivals Inter Milan and AC Milan, both by 2-0 scores, while Real Madrid defeated the LA Galaxy in its opener (3-1) then beat Everton (2-1) in the tournament’s semifinals.
With Mourinho back, the Blues have looked exceptionally good this preseason, going 5-0 and outscoring opponents 17-2 in three games in Asia and two on this side of the salty, shark-infested pond.
Many players on Chelsea’s 25-man squad who made the trip have looked quite impressive including new additions Marco van Ginkel, André Schürrle and Kevin De Bruyne as well as “veterans” Eden Hazard, Victor Moses, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanović and Ramires.
Almost all players who made the trip have seen playing time and no doubt Mourinho will wish he had more than three substitutes to work with each game after the preseason ends and the real English Premier League season begins with the incredible depth the Blues now possess.
Bless you and your scads of Russian oil money Uncle Roman. We owe you.
One guy who hasn’t played yet is vice-captain Frank Lampard who has been nursing an Achilles injury. A story in the Daily Mail says that Mourinho hopes the midfielder can get some minutes in the final two games in the United States but the story indicates that the 35-year-old likely “will miss the start of the season.”
As far as silly subplots go, this game certainly has some and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo took the high road when asked about an ESPN interview where his former boss Mourinho jabbed at him that “the real Ronaldo” was the former Brazilian striker Ronaldo.
In a news conference in Los Angeles, CR7 answered the semi-cheapshot with sheer class, according to a report in The Guardian.
"I prefer to remember the good things from coaches. I don't spit on the plate from which I eat and I don't speak about people who say bad things about me,” Ronaldo said.
“We are going to face Chelsea, not their coach. It is another warm-up game and we hope to win it so we can start La Liga in the best manner possible."
So there you have it. Ronaldo 1, Mourinho 0. Can we go home now daddy?
Not yet son. We have some very serious writing to do here. Now drink your strawberry milkshake and shut up for a couple of minutes. And go walk the cat if you would.
Besides the “non-real” Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s (26-7-5, second place in La Liga) roster is as loaded and as deep as Chelsea’s as Los Blancos prepare to try to topple heated rivals Barcelona as champions this season in Spain’s top division.
Real Madrid made a huge acquisition this summer by signing midfielder Isco from Málaga and along with Mesut Özil, Ángel di María, Karim Benzema, Kaká, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Sami Khedira and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, could probably field two squads of immense talent.
With 32 La Liga championships, 18 Copa del Rey titles and nine European championships under its belt, Real Madrid is a club who has certainly made its mark on the soccer world and one who will most likely be in the thick of La Liga and UEFA Champions League title chases for decades to come.
Unstoppable force, please meet immovable object. And please buy her some flowers Bubba.
Like Real Madrid, Chelsea (22-9-7) would love nothing more than to win its own league this season and with a wonderful mix of young and old players, may just be able to make a run at Manchester City or defending champs Manchester United for the crown.
With so many skilled players on the pitch, no matter how solid the defense or world-class goalkeeping, there should be scoring by both sides in this showdown in the Sunshine State.
How the Blues try to stifle the prolific Ronaldo will be fun to watch and with enforcer Ivanović and starlet César Azpilicueta on the right side, things might not go as easy as the 28-year-old Portuguese legend may hope.
Expect Chelsea to use all three strikers—Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku—again in some form or another and with an attacking midfield loaded with talent like Juan Mata, Oscar, Hazard, De Bruyne, Moses and Schürrle, the Blues should put as much pressure on Los Blancos as Real Madrid does on them.
Who will be champions of the International Champions Cup?
Taking a shot at the recently historical better club in Real Madrid at near even money is worth a look here but probably the best idea is to take a chance at betting the Over 2½ (-175) if you can find it as some sports books are posting a 3 for the total. There should be three goals in this contest and possibly two by halftime.
Next up for Chelsea is a date with AS Roma in a friendly on Aug. 10 from Washington, D.C. then the Blues fly back home to West London to prepare for their Premier League opener against Hull City (NBC Sports Network, 11:00 a.m. EDT/8:00 a.m. PDT) at Stamford Bridge on Aug. 18.
Real Madrid also opens up its league season on Aug. 18 when they will welcome Real Betis to Madrid.
If you could pick just one friendly to watch this summer, a Chelsea-Real Madrid match would be the one and fans who have tickets for Wednesday night’s game at Sun Life Stadium should be in for a real treat, no pun intended.
PREDICTION: Real Madrid 2 Chelsea 1
BETS: Real Madrid Even, Over 2½ -175
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