Real Madrid round-up: Modric, Maldini, Fede Valverde
Today's tidbits include a warm reception for Luka Modric from the Bernabéu, debutant Fede Valverde and all the post-match reaction to last night's Bernabéu Trophy...
Madrid fans raise the roof for Luka
One of the most exhilerating moments of last night's Trofeo Bernabéu match against AC Milan was when Luka Modric took to the pitch as a late sub on 77 minutes. The past couple of weeks have been fraught for Madrid fans, who have been worried about rumours originating in Italy suggesting that Modric was considering leaving. Thankfully that has now been resolved, the player has had his salary revised, everyone's happy and improved and the Bernabéu showed their appreciation for the Croatian by giving him a deafening ovation when he came on for Isco with 13 minutes to go. Modric acknowledged the gesture by applauding the home fans on the final whistle - as did Milan newboy Gonzalo Higuaín, who was warmly welcomed back and showed respect by declining to celebrate his goal on 4 minutes.
Five players make their home debuts
Several Madrid players made their first appearance at the Bernabéu against Milan last night. Sergio Reguilón, Fede Valverde, Vinicius, Andriy Lunin and Sergio López savoured their first match at home. Álvaro Odriozola and Thibaut Courtois will have to wait for their first experience of the Bernabéu but not on the visiting side - they will get their first chance to do so, if Lopetegui sees fit, on the opening day when Madrid play host to Getafe on 19 August
With Mateo Kovacic out on loan with Chelsea this season, Lopetegui is aware that he could find himself shortstaffed in midfield at some point over the course of the campaign. The coach says that he is looking for a solution to give the team balance and if Madrid are unable to sign Thiago or Miralem Pjanic - the two options being considered as Kovacic's replacement, he could draft Castilla's Fede Valverde into the first team squad - Valverde has worn the No.37 shirt throughout Madrid's pre-season with the first team squad. The 20-year-old Uruguayan did well during his loan spell at Deportivo last year and the initial idea was to loan him out again this season. However, his performances during the pre-season tour of the US tour could persuade Lopetegui to think again...
One-club man Maldini
Milan director Paolo Maldini had a few complimentary words to say about the hosts after last night's Trofeo Bernabéu game. "Madrid and Milan have a great relationship - we are rivals but we are also friends. As a player, I never left Milan but if I had been in the position where I had to leave, I would only have chosen to wear the white shirt with Real Madrid".
Mayoral sets sights on Atleti
Borja Mayoral nodded in Madrid's third goal against Milan and spoke to the club's TV channel after the game. "We're very happy with how the game when collectively as a team and also individually. I’m pleased about getting a goal and that we played as a team. We were the better side although it's fair to say we struggled a bit with our pressing early on but in the second half we improved. We have a great side and we are going all out to win everything this year. It was important for us to win tonight and get the new season off on the right track. Now we are looking forward to taking on Atlético on Wednesday".
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