Real Madrid’s famous "fear clause", which prevents loan players from facing their parent club, seemed set to prevent Castilla player José León, who is on loan at Cultural Leonesa, from playing against Zinedine Zidane's team when the sides meet at the Bernabéu on Wednesday evening.
However, Cultural issued a statement on their website confirming that Real Madrid have elected to waive the clause in this instance, allowing León to potentially make his debut for his new side against his parent club.
The central defender was loaned to the Segunda B club last summer on the final day of the transfer market despite still being out of action with a serious knee injury suffered last season when playing for Castilla.
After his first training session with his new teammates, on November 22, León was asked about his chances of playing at the Bernabéu in the return leg of the Copa tie against Real Madrid. “It’s a pity but I can’t play because of contractual things, the clause and everything. I’ll try to be there to cheer on the team though,” said the 21-year-old. Asked how he felt about the clause, he replied: “If it was up to me there wouldn’t be one, but that’s the way it is… I’m just happy to be here [at Cultural].”
Morientes and Munitis
Real’s decision to insert such clauses into contracts when sending players out on loan stems from the time Fernando Morientes fired Monaco to victory over his parent club in the 2003-04 Champions League quarter-finals when still officially a Real Madrid player. Something similar, yet less crushing for the Bernabéu club, occurred with Pedro Munitis. The midfielder was loaned to Racing Santander in the 2002-03 season and although a verbal agreement had been reached between the clubs that Munitis would not play against Real, in the absence of a binding clause in his contract he was fielded against his parent club and scored in a 2-0 win for Racing in El Sardinero, celebrating his strike with some relish. It did no go uncommented that at the time Real were paying 65 percent of his wages.
Copa del Rey return
However, in the case of León the clause has little bearing on the Copa tie between the European Champions and the third-tier club. It was inserted to prevent the defender from playing against Castilla in the case that reserve side face Cultural in this season’s promotion playoffs.
Real go into the game 7-1 up from the first leg in León, with Zidane expected to rest a raft of first team regulars against the Segunda B outfit.
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