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June 2021

Real Madrid 2 Arsenal 1 full time: great Sunday evening fun, but only in the UK

by Tony Attwood

This game was, (presumably for some sort of copyright region), only available in the UK.  So not even visible in the Channels Isles it seems, and I’m really sorry that not everyone was able to see the game, as it was great fun.

The skill that these older players retain really is something.  Obviously not at all based on speed as they get older, but just on that ability to deal with a football: quite something.

My little review of the first half (written at full speed at half time) is on the site (Real Madrid v Arsenal 2-1 at half time) not that I am suggesting it gives you the full flavour of the game, but it does try and set the scene.

Second half: it was lovely to see Almunia come on; you may recall he had a terrible health scare after leaving Arsenal due to a rare heart condition which was discovered later.   The fact that he can play in a game like this and throw himself around well, making a number of decent saves, suggests that the condition is all under control, which is great news.  I really wish him well.

Also interesting to see a piece of utterly awful, really terrible refereeing when Boa Morte was clearly through and nowhere near offside, only to be given offside.  The player himself expressed his anger; yes it is a charity match but surely they could afford to have some officials who actually know the rules.   This wasn’t a matter of a foot straying too far forward – it was blatantly obviously not offside.   A ref with a future with the PGMO perhaps.  I expect they are already on the phone to him.

Another little bit of fun was one or two players having body cams on them – they didn’t really show us too much, but still, it was another little touch to make it all a bit different.

As for watching  Aliadère, it reminded me of what a player he could have been, if only all those injuries hadn’t disrupted his career, and then made him more and more cautious as to how he played.  Last I heard he had gone back Lorient – I’m not sure if he is still playing, but he had the touches that we sometimes saw before he was hacked down by thuglike defenders, and then out for another six months.

For Real Madrid we had Figo and Seedorf on the pitch – what a pleasure to watch them once more, and (you won’t believe this) we had a moment when Eboue seemed to beat half the Real Madrid team and then get brought down at the last.  Not the player I remember!   He’s obviously developed in old age.

It really was just an enjoyable Sunday evening – seeing for example Júlio Baptista play for both sides (although not at the same time), and to see a couple of amazing Pires passes which split open everything and should have resulted in goals.

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Yep I really enjoyed it, and we’re now talking about plans to be at the Arsenal Stadium to see the return match on 8 September.  Apparently the tickets are at League Cup prices which means that being incredibly old I can sit upstairs for £10.  Not a bad way to see the guys I used to watch from the West Stand at Highbury.

An unexpected bonus for a Sunday early evening.



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