The perfect opportunity to register a win
Espanyol goalkeeper Diego López will come face-to-face with Real Madrid this weekend, the club where he played some of the best football of his career. The former Villarreal and AC Milan goalkeeper, who joined Espanyol just before the transfer window closed this summer, says his side’s match-up with the European champions “is the perfect opportunity to win our first game of the season.”
López says he isn’t worried about his side’s slow start to the season (two draws and a defeat). “You have to take each game as it comes. Things haven’t been easy so far. I watched the games against Sevilla and Málaga; we played well at times. Against Málaga, for example, we deserved to win.”
Real Madrid boosted by Cristiano's return
Espanyol face a Real Madrid side top of the table and buoyed by the return to fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo after recovering from the knee injury which forced him out of July’s Euro 2016 final. The Portuguese star famously scored five on his visit to Cornellà-El Prat at the start of last season.
Modric, the brain of the team
“Cristiano was my teammate for two years and he was an absolute professional day in, day out. He’ll be hungry to score, as he showed last week,” he said. “There’s another key to Madrid: Luka Modric. He’s the brain of the side and an incredible player. He’s made an excellent start to the season and is the creative driving force of the team.
López, who has displaced Roberto Jiménez in the Espanyol goal just as he did Iker Casillas at the Bernabéu years ago, insists that his side will have to be on top of their defensive game. “Madrid are lethal in transitions. They have quality players who can make you pay at any moment. But we won’t approach the game trying to limit the number of goals we conceded. We’re ready to compete,” he said.