A sentimental start
Gento and Kopa went out onto the field to jointly take the kick-off. An intimate and emotional moment, and their footballing grandchildren thanked them as best they could by giving that which we appreciate most in football: goals. For a while, almost incredibly, the match sat with a scoreline of 4-3 as the game was about to enter the final ten minutes (Madrid had won 4-3 in that first final 60 years ago against Stade de Reims) but Mariano, a boy who has gunning for a goal, spoiled it. And nobody is going to blame him for doing so. That final half hour or so was the most enjoyable, flooded with players from the youth set-up, including Enzo Zidane who had movement worthy of his eminent father.
Key players getting ready
Father Zidane gave opportunities to everyone, knowing that it was not a day that he wanted to lose anyone. He removed the handcuffs from James and for this was thanked with effort, several nice moves, and a goal. The Bernabeu crowd began the night by looking at him with suspicion, but ended it by trusting in him. Beside him was Asensio, pleasing again, playing on the left, with Bale showing his strength on the right. He will be needed for the efforts required at the Anoeta (Madrid’s opening game), where Benzema and Cristiano will still be missing. Morata had a certain melancholic air about him, which perhaps he will rid himself of after finally scoring, with a clinical header.
An appropriate tribute
It was all very nice in the end. Madrid took their foot off the gas early and left plenty in the tank, which allowed Stade de Reims to play their game from time to time, get forward, and score three goals, all very tidy, but all poorly defended. On another occasion that would be criminal but in effectively an exhibition match and on a night with such an illustrious guest as Kopa in the stands it was appreciated. A real footballing friendly, enjoyable to watch and without foul play or poor sportsmanship, instead everyone friends and all this being shared up high in the VIP box by Gento and Kopa. That was what it was. A tribute by Madrid to their greatest memory.