On the warm Wednesday night in Miami, Florida, the final of the Guinness International Champions’ Cup took place between Real Madrid and Chelsea FC. Both teams have reached this far because of winning every fixture placed in front of them during this semi-competitive preseason tournament taking place in the United States.
The most interesting fact about this match, other than it is two heavyweights that rarely play each other, is that it pits new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho against his most recent former club. During the second half of his last season before he departed, Mourinho increased the discomfort inside of the Madrid locker room by either speaking badly of certain players, falling out with them privately, or by simply not playing them in important matches.
The match began with the regular routine of fireworks and performances that a final should contain. As the teams came out and sat on their benches, a tension could be sensed miles away from the Sun Life Stadium as the Madrid players saw their manager from a few months ago in the opposing uniform.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a beautiful free kick halfway through the first half and capitalized with a celebration jabbing the Portuguese manager by gesturing with both hands towards his chest indicating to everyone, especially Mourinho, that he was “The Special One”.
Real began the match gaining possession and maintaining it while often penetrating the Chelsea defense. The team from London was playing a defensive counter-attacking style resembling the Madrid team from last season to the tee. Of course Mourinho had all of the advantages, as he knew the team he was facing. Only thing was that Real was unrecognizable.
Los Blancos were putting on a beautiful display of football that finally saw the Spanish capital club penetrate their opposition’s defense while having the ball. Last season under Mourinho, Madrid were a counter attacking team which other teams saw as a weakness because the counter to that strategy was to clog their own penalty area and just watch Real pass the ball around as they only knew how to function on the break.
Carlo Ancelotti, Mourinho’s replacement at Real, has promised a more attractive football this season, and so far this preseason he seems to stick to those very words. Throughout the game there were many classy one-two combinations not just between the attackers but also in the defense. Those combos resulted in the first Madrid goal that saw left back Marcelo score from a peculiar position on the pitch for him.
With Ronaldo in top form and mainly concentrating on scoring rather than tracking back, Madrid look to be the team to beat this season as they look to capture their 10th European trophy.
Alejandro de Jesus is a contributing Soccer writer for RantSports.com. You can follow Alejandro on Twitter right here @GeograFOOT