Home Sports Real Madrid start out in bogey town La Coruna

Real Madrid start out in bogey town La Coruna


Madrid : Spanish champions Real Madrid could not have imagined a more difficult start to their league programme than away to Deportivo La Coruna.

But this is exactly what they have to face Sunday.

Not even a trip to Barcelona or Valencia would be as intimidating for the whites, who have not won in La Coruna since 1991 – and who have lost on their last five visits.

“It will be a very difficult game,” said veteran defender Michel Salgado Wednesday. “It always is up there.”

Cash-strapped Deportivo are not as potent as a few years ago and have made no major summer signings. Even so, they will give Bernd Schuster’s team a tough time.

Real are in good form. On Sunday they beat Valencia 4-2 in a nine- man Super Cup epic. On Wednesday they thrashed Sporting Lisbon 5-3 in a relaxed friendly.

And this despite a clumsy transfer policy that has left them short-staffed in attack.

Robinho is desperate to leave for Chelsea, Euro 2008 heroes David Villa and Santi Cazorla have opted to stay at Valencia and Villarreal instead of signing for Real.

Wesley Sneijder is out for three months with knee trouble, fellow Dutchman Rafael Van der Vaart is suspended for Sunday’s clash.

Earlier Sunday, Barcelona are away to promoted minnows Numancia, whose budget is less than five per cent that of Barca’s.

New Barca coach Josep Guardiola is considering leaving Thierry Henry on the bench after a sluggish display from the French veteran in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat away to Wisla Cracow.

In Henry’s place, most probably, will be Lionel Messi, who has not yet played a competitive game under Guardiola because of his successful role for Argentina at the Olympics.

Also Sunday, Villarreal are away to Osasuna whilst Atletico Madrid – on cloud nine after thrashing Schalke 04 in the Champions League qualifiers – play hosts to Malaga.

Sunday’s other games are as follows: Athletic Bilbao-Almeria, Betis-Recreativo Huelva, Racing Santander-Sevilla and Sporting Gijon-Getafe.

The Liga programme kicks off on Saturday with two interesting matches: Espanyol-Valladolid and Valencia-Mallorca.